In parts of Ethiopia’s Tigray region, people now eat only green leaves for days

 In parts of Ethiopia’s Tigray region, people now eat only green leaves for days. At a health center last week, a mother and her newborn weighing just 1.7 pounds died from hunger. In every district of the more than 20 where one aid group works, residents have starved to death, the Associated Press reports.

For months, the United Nations has warned of famine in this embattled corner of northern Ethiopia, calling it the world’s worst hunger crisis in a decade. Now internal documents and witness accounts reveal the first starvation deaths since Ethiopia’s government in June imposed what the U.N. calls “a de facto humanitarian aid blockade.”

Forced starvation is the latest chapter in a conflict where ethnic Tigrayans have been massacred, gang-raped and expelled. Months after crops were burned and communities stripped bare, a new kind of death has set in.

“You are killing people,” Hayelom Kebede, the former director of Tigray’s flagship Ayder Referral Hospital, recalled telling Ethiopia’s health ministry in a phone call this month. “They said, ‘Yeah, OK, we’ll forward it to the prime minister.’ What can I do? I just cry.”

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