At least 35 children have died in recent weeks due to drought and conflict in Ethiopia’s northeastern Afar region, according to a local hospital and the medical charity Doctors Without Borders.
The announcement Thursday came days after a government minister denied that people have died due to food shortages.
“Thirty-five children have died in the last eight weeks alone and more than two-thirds of those patients died within 48 hours of admission,” Doctors Without Borders said in a statement noting an escalating crisis in the mostly arid region.
“What scares us most at this point is that we are only beginning to see the very tip of the iceberg, and already it is overwhelming,” said Raphael Veicht, the group’s emergency coordinator in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia is facing one of the worst droughts in the past 40 years following consecutive failed rains in the Horn of Africa.