Above, a child sleeps on a sack of food aid in the Tigray region. Pictures like this paints poverty and may shade viewers away from what led to the event.
As we speak millions of African kids are having their meals and drinking clean water but we cannot deny that bad governance and unnecessary conflicts are generally making life difficult for many.
It was last year November, Ethiopia’s government ordered troops to detain and disarm the leaders of the then ruling party,
Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) as a response to TPLF attacks on federal army camps.
Peace isn’t what the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Abiy Ahmed, is getting. For it’s still not peace if conflict is declared over but fighting persists.
Ethiopia north’s region, Tigray, is devastated with thousands of lives claimed and millions on the run.
What threatens people’s lives now isn’t war but hunger which sits in their midst.
UN’s humanitarian chief choice of word “famine” ignored international rules
Due to the crisis, famine is a threat but it hasn’t gotten to that phase yet. Pictures and words are bristles that paint images in our brains which could be positive or negative.
According to Mark Lowcock, the UN’s humanitarian chief:
“There is famine now,” he said, and added: “This is going to get a lot worse.”
The use of “famine” as agreed by international organizations should only be used when certain strict criteria are met.
For now, the IPC has settled on the use of the word “catastrophe” instead. Catastrophe comes in phases and judging from the situation-analysis in Tigray, it is categorized under “Phase 5 catastrophe” not the famine phase.
However, large parts of Tigray are at risk of famine in the coming months if the situation persists. Currently, there is no data to support a definition of famine which includes:
● at least 20% of households in an area face extreme food shortages with a limited ability to cope
● acute malnutrition rates exceed 30%
● the death rate exceeds two persons per day per 10,000 persons
Current analysis shows that 350,000 people were living in “severe crisis” in the affected Tigray region including neighbouring Amhara and Afar.
By Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.