The ongoing conflict between Tigray rebels and Ethiopian government forces threatens to "consume" the future of the East African country, the UN warned on Monday.
Rosemary DiCarlo, the UN's top official for political and peacebuilding affairs, told the Security Council that the year-long conflict has reached "disastrous proportions" as rebels led by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) close in on the capital of Addis Ababa.
"The fighting places the future of the country, and its people, as well as the stability of the wider Horn of Africa region, in grave uncertainty," she said.
"No one can predict what continued fighting and insecurity will bring, but let me be clear, what is certain is that the risk of Ethiopia descending into a wider civil war is only too real. That would bring about a humanitarian catastrophe and consume the future of such an important country," she added.
Over 7 million people are in need of humanitarian aid in northern Ethiopia alone, with 400,000 living in famine-like conditions there, according to UN estimates. Alleviating the humanitarian crisis has been hindered by "an ill ability to move cash, fuel and supplies into the region," according to DiCarlo.