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GENEVA: Ethiopia’s conflict-hit Tigray region is facing a horrifying situation with people dying of hunger, health services destroyed and rape “rampant”, the WHO chief, himself from the region, said Monday.

“The situation in Tigray, Ethiopia, is, if I use one word, horrific. Very horrific,” World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray in November after accusing the once-dominant regional ruling party of orchestrating attacks on federal army camps.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy declared victory later that month when the army entered the regional capital Mekele.

But fighting continues and the six-month conflict has sparked allegations of massacres and rape by Ethiopian forces and troops from neighbouring Eritrea. Tedros pointed out that some five million people in the region are now in need of humanitarian aid, and especially food aid.

“Many people have started dying actually because of hunger, and severe and acute malnutrition is becoming rampant,” he said.

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