Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed has denied media reports that people were dying of hunger in the conflict-hit regions of Tigray and Amhara, which are grappling with a food crisis.
“There are no people dying due to hunger in Ethiopia,” Mr Abiy told lawmakers on Tuesday.
He, however, said that “people may have died” due to illnesses associated with malnutrition.
The PM also acknowledged that drought was affecting people in several regions of the country, including Tigray, Amhara and Oromia, but warned that “we must refrain from politicising this issue”.
Last month, the state-appointed Federal Ombudsman Institute said nearly 400 people had died of hunger in the northern regions of Tigray and Amhara. The institute’s head, Endale Haile, told the BBC that the deaths occurred in the past six months.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRC) has blamed the federal and regional governments for not providing enough humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable.
About 20 million people require food assistance in Ethiopia due to conflicts, drought, and flooding, according to the UN.