Ethiopia's Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen on Friday briefed a private gathering that was hosted by the Atlantic Council and included Biden administration staffers on the situation in the country's Tigray region, The Associated Press reports.
Demeke and his colleagues reportedly said Tigray — which began experiencing a violent conflict last November that has resulted in thousands of deaths — has "returned to normalcy" and that 1.5 million people have been reached with humanitarian aid. But reports from the ground, though difficult to come by, suggest otherwise, especially in rural areas. Accounts retrieved by Doctors Without Borders and the World Peace Foundation described hospitals in poor conditions with "no food, no water, and no money" and "crippling" hunger among the region's rural population that could lead to a "massive humanitarian crisis."
Gezahegn Kebede Gebrehana, the Oxfam country director in Ethiopia, told AP that when fighting broke out last year many people "fled into the bush" only to find "their houses destroyed or all their belongings looted" upon their return. "Food is a very, very prominent necessity, from what we saw" during an assessment of southern Tigray, considered the most accessible part of the region. Read more at The Associated Press and take a deeper look at the growing crisis in Ethiopia here at The Week.