The head of the World Health Organization has described the situation in Ethiopia’s conflict-hit Tigray region as horrific.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is from Tigray, said people were dying of hunger with malnutrition spreading fast.
He criticised the fact that health services had been destroyed and said rape was rampant.
“The situation in Tigray, Ethiopia is, maybe if I use one word, horrific, very horrific – 4.5, almost five million people need humanitarian aid, 91% need food aid, and many people have started dying actually because of hunger, and severe and acute malnutrition is becoming rampant,” he said, while speaking at a news conference in Geneva.
His comments echo many international leaders and agencies that have also been calling for full humanitarian access and an end to the blocking of aid.
It came as the Ethiopian government issued a statement denouncing what it called a campaign to exert undue pressure.
It said aid agencies had free access and rejected calls for any form of dialogue with the TPLF, with whom its fighting the conflict.