The plea arrived from a remote area that had so far produced only rumors and residents fleeing for their lives. Help us, the letter said, stamped and signed by a local official. At least 125 people have already starved to death.
Trapped in one of the most inaccessible areas of Ethiopia’s conflict-torn Tigray region, beyond the reach of aid, people “are falling like leaves,” the official said.
The letter gives a rare insight into the most urgent unknown of the war between Ethiopian forces backed by Eritrea and Tigray’s former leaders: What’s the fate of hundreds of thousands of people cut off from the world for months?
As the United States warns that up to 900,000 people in Tigray face famine conditions in the world’s worst hunger crisis in a decade, little is known about vast areas of Tigray that have been under the control of combatants from all sides since November. With blocked roads and ongoing fighting, humanitarian groups have been left without access.