US warns Ethiopia of ‘dehumanising rhetoric’

NAIROBI, KENYA (AP) — The head of the United States (US) Agency for International Development expressed concern on Wednesday about the “dehumanising rhetoric” used by Ethiopia’s leaders amid the nine-month conflict in the Tigray region, whose forces last month were described as “weeds” and “cancer” by the country’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.

Samantha Power spoke to reporters after pressing Ethiopia’s government to ease a blockade of humanitarian aid to Tigray, where hundreds of thousands of people face famine in the world’s worst hunger crisis in a decade.

Just 10 per cent of targetted aid has reached the region since mid-July, she said – 153 trucks as of two days ago, while the United Nations has said 1,500 trucks were needed during that time.

Ethiopia’s government in recent weeks has accused aid groups of arming Tigray forces, without providing evidence, and suspended the work of two international aid groups while accusing Doctors Without Borders and the Norwegian Refugee Council of “disseminating misinformation”.

Meanwhile, Power said, “desperate humanitarian needs are growing more acute with every passing day” in Tigray, where more than 5 million people need help.