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Monday, July 15, 2024

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    According to Ethiopia, cutting off food aid “punishes millions.”

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    The Ethiopian government slammed a decision by two large relief organisation to cease the delivery of food supplies to the country after it was discovered that it was being diverted away from those in need.

    Legesse Tulu, spokesman for the Ethiopian government, told journalists that the decision by USAID and the World Food Programme (WFP) “punishes millions.”

    On Thursday, USAID, the US government’s major overseas assistance agency, announced a halt to food delivery “until reforms are in place” to the way help is distributed.

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    The World Food Programme followed suit on Friday, stating that it will temporarily cease just certain food aid deliveries.

    Millions of Ethiopians are experiencing acute food shortages as a result of a destructive conflict in Tigray’s northern area and a punishing drought in the south and southeast, which has also affected Somalia and portions of Kenya.

    Last month, USAID and WFP announced a suspension on food aid to Tigray after discovering that shipments were being diverted to local markets.

    Neither agency has identified people responsible for accepting and reselling the aid.

    Tulu, on the other hand, called the decision to suspend help “political,” adding that “making the government solely responsible (for the diversions) is unacceptable.”

    Ethiopia’s government stated in a joint statement with USAID on Friday that it is committed to dealing with the “deeply concerning revelations of food aid diversion.”

    Due to violence and famine, over 20 million Ethiopians need on food aid, according to the UN’s humanitarian agency (OCHA) in May.

    Ethiopia is home to almost one million refugees, the majority of whom are from South Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea.

    Since mid-April, about 30,000 people escaping Sudan’s recent violence have sought asylum in the nation.

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