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Millions more in need of food assistance as a direct result of conflict in Northern Ethiopia, says WFP



Millions more in need of food assistance as a direct result of conflict in Northern Ethiopia, says WFP

To date, WFP has reached more than 3.2 million people with emergency food and nutrition assistance in northern Ethiopia.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 26, 2021 / APO Group / –

The number of people in need of humanitarian food assistance in northern Ethiopia has risen to approximately 9.4 million as a direct result of the ongoing conflict, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) announced today.

The Amhara region, the front line of the conflict in Ethiopia, has seen the largest increase in numbers, with 3.7 million people now in dire need of humanitarian aid. Of the people in northern Ethiopia who need assistance, more than 80% (7.8 million) are behind the battle lines. It is vital that food assistance can cross the battle lines to reach families in need.

This week, WFP delivered food to more than 10,000 people in the Amhara cities of Dessie and Kombolcha on behalf of the Joint Emergency Operation (JEOP). These are the first distributions to occur in these towns since they were taken over by the Tigray Forces almost a month ago. WFP only had full access to its warehouses in the region last week. The nutrition situation in northern Ethiopia is deteriorating with screening data from all three regions showing malnutrition rates between 16% and 28% for children. Even more alarming, up to 50% of the pregnant and lactating women screened in Amhara and Tigray were also malnourished. To date, WFP has provided emergency food and nutrition assistance to more than 3.2 million people in northern Ethiopia, including 875,000 vulnerable mothers and children with nutritionally fortified food in Tigray and Amhara. United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flights to Tigray resumed on Wednesday, with the first aid workers in and out of the region since a security incident on October 22. WFP needs one million liters of fuel to reach the 7.8 million people who are currently behind the battle lines and urgently in need of food assistance. The Tigray authorities have made fuel available to WFP in Kombolcha, with an initial batch of 45,000 liters already on the way to support scaled-up food assistance in Tigray. A convoy loaded with 2,200 metric tons of life-saving food is expected to arrive in Mekelle in the next few days, 35 trucks have so far arrived. Additionally, trucks loaded with Kombolcha food will be dispatched to South Tigray today. The corridors to Tigray had been closed due to recent Tigrayan crimes in Afar and Amhara, as well as serious disruptions in federal government authorizations. Since mid-July, less than a third of the supplies needed to meet estimated humanitarian food needs have entered the region. In Tigray, in this current round of food assistance, WFP has reached 180,000 people, just 7% of the 2.5 million that WFP needs. In Amhara, WFP has reached more than 220,000 people with food and nutrition assistance and is increasing to 650,000 people. In Afar, WFP has distributed food to 124,000 people out of 534,000 planned. WFP’s response in northern Ethiopia urgently requires $ 316 million to provide assistance over the next six months. Across the country, WFP runs an unprecedented funding gap of US $ 579 million to save and change the lives of 12 million people over the next six months. Shortage of funds has already forced rations for some 710,000 refugees and 2.4 million food insecure people in the Somali region to be cut.

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