TPLF Weaponized Hunger by Blocking Humanitarian Aid

Heat map shows TPLF triggered conflicts along the Afar border and within the Afar region blocking routes for humanitarian assistance trucks.

According to a new analysis on the conflict in northern Ethiopia, TPLF (Tigrayan forces) aggression is causing a devastating humanitarian crisis and leading to an exacerbating hunger used as a weapon of war. In particular, the roads leading towards Tigray are blocked and access to Mekelle is restricted for humanitarian assistance such as food and medical supplies due to TPLF expansion of the war outside Tigray and invasion of neighboring Afar region.

The heat map generated based on the data from International Armed Conflict Location and Event Database (ACLED), dating from June 2021 to December 2021, shows nearly 100 TPLF triggered conflicts in Afar region blocking routes and corridors that are critical for transporting aid to Tigray and other TPLF occupied areas.

From December 2020 to June 2021, Ethiopian government provided 70% percent of the assistance to Tigray region. In June, 2021, the Ethiopian government declared a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew from the Tigray region to provide relief to farmers to continue their harvest, considering the Ethiopian short harvist sessions.

To continue providing assistance to the Tigray region after the withdrawal, the Ethiopian government allocated Semara in the Afar region as the location for international aid, such as WFP and USAID, to transport food and other life saving humanitarian assistance from ports in Djibouti.

There are three possible routes to Mekelle from the humanitarian hub in Samara. The shortest route directly goes to Mekelle passing through Afar Zone 2, Abala, and the two other routes pass through Afar Zone 4-5, Chifra and Bati, to take the Dessie-Kombolcha main road. The data shows that these roads are continuously interrupted and aid trucks with humanitarian assistance are blocked by TPLF instigated conflicts.

During the TPLF invasion of the Afar region going as far as Mille, which is more than 100 kilometers from Afar-Tigray border, several atrocities are reported including mass killings of civilians in Galicoma and Chifra, looting of humanitarian aid warehouses in addition to hospitals, schools, and other public and private properties by TPLF forces.

Blocking humanitarian aid that is critical to civilians who are in need is a war crime. Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian diaspora around the world are protesting weekly asking the US and Western countries to unequivocally denounce the TPLF brutal invasion of Afar and Amhara regions that is causing a severe humanitarian crisis. Many are questioning why the Tigrayan forces are not held accountable and condemned for blocking humanitarian assistance, which has been a strategy for using hunger as a weapon of war.