NAIROBI – Almost a month into the current rainy season, desperately needed rains across the Horn of Africa have so far failed to materialize. If these conditions continue, the number of hungry people due to drought could spiral from the currently estimated 14 million to 20 million through 2022, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned today.

With Somalia facing the risk of famine, half a million Kenyans one step away from catastrophic levels of hunger and malnutrition rates in Ethiopia well above emergency thresholds, time is fast running out for families who are struggling to survive.

“We know from past experience that acting early to avert a humanitarian catastrophe is vital, yet our ability to launch the response has been limited due to a lack of funding to date,” said Michael Dunford, U.N. World Food Programme’s regional director for Eastern Africa. “The U.N. World Food Programme and other humanitarian agencies have been warning the international community since last year that this drought could be disastrous if we didn’t act immediately, but funding has failed to materialize at the scale required.”

The situation has been compounded by the fallout of conflict in Ukraine, with the cost of food and fuel soaring to unprecedented highs. Drought-affected countries across the Horn of Africa are likely to be the hardest hit by impacts of the conflict – the cost of a food basket has already risen, particularly in Ethiopia (66%) and Somalia (36%) which depend heavily on wheat from Black Sea basin countries. The disruption in imports further threatens food security. Shipping costs on some routes have doubled since January 2022.

During the 2016/17 drought in the Horn of Africa, catastrophe was avoided through early action. Humanitarian assistance was scaled up before there was widespread hunger. In 2022, due to a severe lack of resourcing, there are growing fears that it won’t be possible to prevent the looming disaster – and millions will suffer as a result.

The U.N. World Food Programme last appealed for desperately needed funding in February, yet less than 4% of what was needed was raised. Over the next six months, the U.N. World Food Programme needs $473 million to scale-up assistance and save lives across the three countries – Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

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In Ethiopia crops have failed, over a million livestock have died and an estimated 7.2 million people wake up hungry every day in southern and southeastern Ethiopia as the country grapples with the most severe drought since 1981. The U.N. World Food Programme is on the ground, aiming to support 3.5 million people with emergency food and nutrition assistance, school feeding programs as well as climate change adaptation and resilience building activities. Immediate and scaled-up assistance is critical to avoid a major humanitarian crisis in the drought-affected areas of Ethiopia and help communities become more resilient to extreme climate shocks. The U.N. World Food Programme urgently requires $239 million over the next six months to respond to the drought in southern Ethiopia.

In Kenya, the number of people in need of assistance has risen more than fourfold in less than two years. According to the Short Rains Assessment, the rapidly escalating drought has left 3.1 million people acutely hungry (IPC3 and above), including half a million Kenyans who are facing emergency levels of hunger (IPC4). The U.N. World Food Programme urgently requires $42 million over the next six months to meet the needs of the most critically affected communities in northern and eastern parts of the country.

In Somalia, some 6 million people (40% of the population) are facing acute hunger (IPC3 or above) and, alarmingly, there is a very real risk of famine in the coming months if the rains don’t arrive and humanitarian assistance isn’t received. The U.N. World Food Programme is scaling up emergency food and nutrition assistance to support 3 million people by the middle of this year. However, a $192 million relief funding gap over the next six months means that the U.N. World Food Programme has less than half of what it needs to keep scaling up. As a result, the U.N. World Food Programme is having to prioritize both nutrition (where treatment has taken precedence over prevention) and food assistance. The U.N. World Food Programme has launched its largest anticipatory action intervention so far in Africa, equipping vulnerable Somali households in drought hotspots with additional cash transfers and a public information campaign to help them withstand the impact of a potential fourth failed rainy season. The U.N. World Food Programme is also continuing livelihoods, resilience and food systems programs to protect recent development gains and support vulnerable Somalis against droughts and other crises in the long term.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

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Nairobi – The Horn of Africa is experiencing the driest conditions recorded since 1981, with severe drought leaving an estimated 13 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia facing severe hunger in the first quarter of this year, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned today.

Three consecutive failed rainy seasons have decimated crops and caused abnormally high livestock deaths. Shortages of water and pasture are forcing families from their homes and leading to increased conflict between communities. Further forecasts of below-average rainfall are threatening to worsen and compound dire conditions in the coming months.

“Harvests are ruined, livestock are dying and hunger is growing as recurrent droughts affect the Horn of Africa,” said Michael Dunford, regional director in the U.N. World Food Programme Regional Bureau for Eastern Africa. “The situation requires immediate humanitarian action and consistent support to build the resilience of communities for the future.”

The drought has impacted pastoral and farmer populations across southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, south-eastern and northern Kenya and south-central Somalia. The impacts are compounded by increases in staple food prices, inflation and low demand for agricultural labour, further worsening families’ ability to buy food. Malnutrition rates also remain high across the region and could worsen if no immediate action is taken.

Across the three drought-affected countries, the U.N. World Food Programme is providing lifesaving food and nutrition assistance to affected communities. Additionally, U.N. World Food Programme cash grants and insurance schemes are helping families buy food to keep their livestock alive or compensating them for their losses.

As needs across the Horn of Africa grow, immediate assistance is critical to avoid a major humanitarian crisis, like the one the world witnessed in 2011 when 250,000 people died of hunger in Somalia. This week the U.N. World Food Programme launches its Regional Drought Response Plan for the Horn of Africa, calling for $327 million to respond to immediate needs of 4.5 million people over the next six months and help communities become more resilient to extreme climate shocks.

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“With the drought, the livestock we have are in danger. Our livelihood depends on them, so we are doing everything we can to keep them healthy. Every morning we lead our cattle to graze at a pasture far away, but even that area is drying up,” said Elamu, a mother of seven in Ethiopia who is impacted by drought.

The U.N. World Food Programme is supporting Elamu with cash transfers through the anticipatory action initiative. After providing Elamu and others crucial information about the upcoming drought, the U.N. World Food Programme provided Elamu $42 each month to help her ready her livestock for the impacts from drought. Elamu is one of almost 3,000 pastoralist households who are receiving cash transfers and one of 16,000 receiving early warning messages from the U.N. World Food Programme to help manage the drought in Ethiopia’s Somali Region.

In Ethiopia, an estimated 5.7 million people affected by severe drought need food assistance. The U.N. World Food Programme aims to support 2.9 million people with food relief in the Somali Region, 585,000 malnourished children and mothers with nutrition treatment, and 80,000 households with mothers or young children with preventative treatment against malnutrition. This emergency response will be complemented by expanding microinsurance support for up to 18,000 at-risk pastoralists. The U.N. World Food Programme is also seeking to add 50,000 children to its school meals program, which currently reaches 87,000 children across 254 schools in other drought affected regions of Oromia and SNNP.

In Kenya, the government declared the drought a national emergency in September 2021 and an estimated 2.8 million people are in need of assistance. The U.N. World Food Programme aims to provide urgent food assistance to more than 890,000 people in the worst affected counties as well as scale up malnutrition treatment and prevention programs for women and children. The U.N. World Food Programme will also extend microinsurance support for small-scale farmers.

In Somalia, the number of acutely food insecure people (IPC 3+) is expected to increase from 3.5 to 4.6 million between February-May 2022 if humanitarian assistance is not received. The U.N. World Food Programme is aiming to scale up its food assistance to support an additional 600,000 people in the first half of this year, reaching a total of almost 2.5 million. To help prevent and treat the implications of drought, the U.N. World Food Programme will also provide nutrition support to women and children. The U.N. World Food Programme is also continuing livelihoods, resilience and food systems programs to protect recent development gains and strengthen vulnerable Somalis against droughts and other crises in the long term.

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ADDIS ABABA –  A new food security assessment, released today by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), shows that almost 40 percent of Tigrayans are suffering an extreme lack of food, after 15 months of conflict. Meanwhile, across all three conflict-affected regions of the north more than 9 million people are in need of humanitarian food assistance, the highest number yet.

The Tigray Emergency Food Security Assessment found that 83 percent of people are hungry. Families are exhausting all means to feed themselves, with three-quarters of the population using extreme coping strategies to survive. Diets are increasingly impoverished as food items become unavailable and families rely almost exclusively on cereals while limiting portion sizes and the number of meals they eat each day to make whatever food is available stretch further.

In terms of nutrition, the survey found that 13 percent of Tigrayan children under 5 and half of all pregnant and breastfeeding women are malnourished, leading to poor pregnancy outcomes, low-birth weight, stunting and maternal death.

“This bleak assessment reconfirms that what the people of northern Ethiopia need is scaled up humanitarian assistance, and they need it now,” said Michael Dunford, the U.N. World Food Programme’s regional director for Eastern Africa.

“The U.N. World Food Programme is doing all it can to ensure our convoys with food and medicines make it through the frontlines. But if hostilities persist, we need all the parties to the conflict to agree to a humanitarian pause and formally agreed transport corridors, so that supplies can reach the millions besieged by hunger.”

In neighboring Amhara region, hunger has more than doubled in five months because the region bore the brunt of recent fighting between the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) and the Tigray Forces (TF). More than 14 percent of children under five and almost a third of pregnant and breastfeeding women are malnourished.

In Afar region, to the east of Tigray, conflict-driven displacement is pushing hunger and malnutrition rates up. Recent health screening data shows malnutrition rates for children under five were at 28 percent, far above the standard emergency threshold of 15 percent. Intensified conflict on the Tigray-Afar border in recent days is expected to force more communities from their homes and deeper into hunger.

The U.N. World Food Programme estimates that on average, crisis-affected families in northern Ethiopia were getting less than 30 percent of their caloric needs in the past months, pushing people deeper into crisis. It’s expected that that constant humanitarian food assistance will be required at least throughout 2022.

Since March, and despite the challenges posed to operations, the U.N. World Food Programme has reached almost 4 million people across northern Ethiopia with food and nutrition assistance. The survey found that when access to Tigray improved during the summer months, humanitarian assistance from the U.N. World Food Programme and its partners kept starvation at bay for those who had been cut off from assistance prior to May.

More recently, however, no convoy has reached Tigray since mid-December. Fighting and insecurity means the U.N. World Food Programme and other humanitarian actors are struggling to reach areas areas isolated by conflict, in conditions that risk the safety of staff and the security of humanitarian supplies.

The U.N. World Food Programme’s northern Ethiopia response urgently requires $337 million to deliver assistance over the next six months, and will begin running out of the capacity to purchase food from February. Across the entire country, the U.N. World Food Programme has an unprecedented funding gap of $667 million to save and change the lives of 12 million people over the next six months.

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Additional footage: October 2021, September 2021, June 2021.

Key Findings

  • The U.N. World Food Programme conducted a food security assessment in Tigray during and just after the main harvest in November 2021. More than 980 families across Tigray were interviewed for the assessment.
  • The assessment shows levels of food security in Tigray have plummeted over the past 15 months.
  • 4.6 million people are estimated to be food insecure in Tigray (excluding western Tigray), which is 83 percent of the population.
  • 2 million people (37 percent) are severely food insecure (equivalent to IPC 4 and 5 levels.)
  • In October 2020, prior to the conflict, an estimated 93 percent of people said they had no or little experience of hunger. Now, less than half can say the same (45 percent.)
  • Levels of food insecurity are most worrying in northwestern, eastern, and central zones of Tigray, where families are suffering from severe to very severe levels of hunger.
  • Three-quarters of the Tigray population are using unsustainable coping strategies to feed themselves. This includes limiting portion sizes and/or the number of meals per day.
  • Four in five surveyed households report consuming inadequate diets. People reported almost exclusively relying on cereals for food, showing a lack of dietary diversity.
  • More than one-third of households were reporting that their main source of food was through community-based support such as direct in-kind donations or loans, purchases on credit or begging. This shows that reliance on social networks and community coping capacities have been critical in maintaining minimal levels of consumption over many months.
  • The survey found that humanitarian assistance from the U.N. World Food Programme and its partners had provided a much needed injection of food supplies during the summer months, when access was improved in the Tigray region. This lifesaving food assistance was shared among the community and kept starvation at bay for those who had been cut off from assistance prior to May. Among those in pockets of extreme concern, the number of families facing severe hunger nearly halved between May to November (from 27-34 percent in May, down to 14.7 percent in November.)

The Tigray Emergency Food Security Assessment cannot be compared like-for-like with the IPC which was release last June, since the analytical approach of this assessment doesn’t allow for a direct comparison. This is the first reliable food security assessment that has taken place since the IPC.

Similar assessments are planned for Afar and Amhara to determine the impact of the conflict on people’s food insecurity across northern Ethiopia.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA, @WFP_Ethiopia and @WFP_Africa

ADDIS ABABA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today warned that its lifesaving food assistance operations in northern Ethiopia are about to grind to a halt because intense fighting has blocked the passage of fuel and food.

The escalation of conflict across northern Ethiopia means that no U.N. World Food Programme convoy has reached Mekelle since mid-December. Stocks of nutritionally fortified food for the treatment of malnourished children and women are now exhausted, and the last of the U.N. World Food Programme’s cereals, beans and oil will be distributed next week.

“We’re now having to choose who goes hungry to prevent another from starving,” said Michael Dunford, the U.N. World Food Programme’s regional director for Eastern Africa.

“We need immediate guarantees from all parties to the conflict for safe and secure humanitarian corridors, via all routes, across northern Ethiopia. Humanitarian supplies are simply not flowing at the pace and scale needed. The lack of both food and fuel means we’ve only been able to reach 20 percent of those we should have in this latest distribution in Tigray. We’re on the edge of a humanitarian disaster.”

More than a year into the conflict in northern Ethiopia, an estimated 9.4 million people require humanitarian food assistance. This is an increase of 2.7 million from just four months ago, the highest number yet. At the same time, because of fighting, food distributions are at an all-time low.

The U.N. World Food Programme plans to reach 2.1 million people with food assistance in Tigray, 650,000 in Amhara and 534,000 in Afar Region.

The U.N. World Food Programme also warns it will likely run out of food and nutrition supplies for millions of people across all of  Ethiopia from next month due to an unprecedented lack of funding. The U.N. World Food Programme is calling for an additional $337 million to deliver its emergency food assistance response in northern Ethiopia and $170 million to reach those affected by severe drought in Somali region over the next six months.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA@WFP_Ethiopia and @WFP_Africa

ADDIS ABABA – The number of people in need of humanitarian food assistance across northern Ethiopia has grown to an estimated 9.4 million as a direct result of ongoing conflict.

Amhara region – the frontlines of the conflict in Ethiopia – has seen the largest jump in numbers with 3.7 million people now in urgent need of humanitarian aid. Of the people across northern Ethiopia in need of assistance, more than 80 percent (7.8 million) of them are behind battle lines. It is vital that food assistance can cross battle lines to reach families in need.

  • This week the U.N. World Food Programme delivered food to over 10,000 people in the Amhara towns of Dessie and Kombolcha on behalf of the Joint Emergency Operation (JEOP). These are the first distributions to happen in these towns since they were taken over by Tigray Forces almost a month ago. The U.N. World Food Programme was only granted full access to its warehouses in the region last week.
  • The nutrition situation across north Ethiopia is deteriorating with screening data from all three regions showing malnutrition rates between 16-28 percent for children. Even more alarmingly, up to 50 percent of pregnant and breastfeeding women screened in Amhara and Tigray were also found to be malnourished.
  • To date the U.N. World Food Programme has reached more than 3.2 million people with emergency food and nutrition assistance across northern Ethiopia, including 875,000 vulnerable mothers and children with nutritionally fortified food in Tigray and Amhara.
  • United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flights into Tigray resumed on Wednesday, rotating the first humanitarian workers into and out of the region since a security incident on October 22.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme needs nearly 270,000 gallons of fuel to be able to reach the 7.8 million people who are currently behind the battle lines and in urgent need of food assistance. Tigray Authorities have made fuel available for the U.N. World Food Programme in Kombolcha – with an initial batch of 195 gallons already on its way to support the scale-up of food assistance in Tigray.
  • A convoy loaded with 2,200 metric tons of lifesaving food is expected to arrive in Mekelle in the coming days, 35 trucks have arrived so far. In addition, trucks loaded with food from Kombolcha are being sent into Southern Tigray today.
  • Corridors into Tigray had been closed due to the recent Tigrayan offences on Afar and Amhara, as well as severe disruptions in clearances from Federal Government. Since mid-July, less than a third of the supplies required to meet estimated humanitarian food needs have entered the region.
  • In Tigray, in this current round of food assistance, the U.N. World Food Programme has reached 180,000 people – just 7 percent of the 2.5 million the U.N. World Food Programme needs to reach.
  • In Amhara, the U.N. World Food Programme has reached more than 220,000 people with food and nutrition assistance and is scaling up to reach 650,000 people.
  • In Afar, the U.N. World Food Programme has distributed food to 124,000 people out of its targeted 534,000.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme’s northern Ethiopia response urgently requires $316 million to deliver assistance over the next six months. Across the entire country, the U.N. World Food Programme has an unprecedented funding gap of $579 million to save and change the lives of 12 million people over the next six months.
  • Funding shortages have already forced ration cuts for some 710,000 refugees and 2.4 million hungry people in Somali region.

Photos available here.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA, @wfp_media and @wfp_ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has completed its first round of food distributions to people impacted by the spread of conflict into Afar and Amhara regions. However, a lack of supplies due to various impediments to the movement of humanitarian aid still sees distributions in Tigray lagging behind.

Since August 15, the U.N. World Food Programme has delivered food to almost 300,000 people in Amhara and Afar. The second round of food distributions has been ongoing in Tigray since May 27 and more than 2.4 million people have been reached with food assistance in the northwest and parts of southern Tigray.

“Anecdotal reports from all three regions suggest that food insecurity is rising as families flee from their homes and have their livelihoods destroyed,” said Michael Dunford, the U.N. World Food Programme’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa.

“In Tigray, the IPC released in June estimated that up to 400,000 people would be facing famine-like conditions by now and as teams struggle to get enough food assistance into the region the situation is becoming increasingly dire. In Afar and Amhara we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of people displaced from their homes and have their livelihoods destroyed. It is absolutely vital that we have the full cooperation and support of all parties to the conflict so that we can reach all affected populations with urgently needed food assistance before we have a humanitarian catastrophe on our hands across all of northern Ethiopia.”

WFP northern Ethiopia operations:

  • An additional 1.7 million people are facing emergency levels of hunger in Afar and Amhara regions, where over 840,000 people (700,000 in Amhara and 140,000 in Afar) have been displaced due to the current conflict, according the government estimates.
  • Round 1 distributions have been completed in Amhara, reaching more than 210,000 people with beans, cereals and vegetable oil. This includes families who have been displaced due to the conflict and those who have had their homes and livelihoods destroyed.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme has also been able to transport more than 2,200 metric tons of food assistance on behalf of partners to Wag Hamra and North Wollo zones of Amhara. However, deliveries to communities located beyond lines of conflict have not been possible so far, threatening to cause a further deterioration in food security for families in those areas.
  • In Afar, the U.N. World Food Programme is close to completing round 1 distributions, reaching an initial 80,000 people impacted by the conflict. This number may increase to more than 500,000 people in the next round, subject to a formal request from the Government.
  • As of September 24, the U.N. World Food Programme has reached more than 2.4 million people with emergency food assistance across Eastern, Southern and Northwestern zones of Tigray. In the third round of distributions, the U.N. World Food Programme will reach nearly 2.7 million people after taking over Shire town and Tahtay Koraro districts in Northwestern Zone from its non-governmental food partners.
  • In September, the U.N. World Food Programme has so far reached almost 200,000 children under 5, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, with nutrition assistance across 39 of the 71 targeted woredas in Tigray.
  • In Shire town in the Tigray region, teams have only been able to provide 4.5 pounds of beans per person for the food distribution due to unavailability of cereals and oil. Additionally, round 3 distributions, which were due to start early July, have not yet begun due to a lack of food inside Tigray.
  • There has been some positive news on the movement of humanitarian aid into Tigray in recent weeks. Five convoys – 171 trucks – entered Tigray between September 5-29, carrying a combined total of 6,150 metric tons of food and nutrition supplies. This is enough to feed more than 360,000 people for one month. Despite these recent convoys, only 11 percent of the humanitarian aid needed has entered the region. Additionally, as of September 30, more than 90 commercial trucks have exited Tigray and are now available for the movement of humanitarian aid into the region.
  • Fuel stocks in Tigray are running critically low. Fuel is vital to keep operations running and facilitating the movement of humanitarian aid into and across the region. We need 200,000L of fuel entering Tigray each week to keep operations running.
  • Across Ethiopia, the U.N. World Food Programme aims to reach 11.9 million people in 2021 with food, nutrition and cash support and delivering activities to boost communities’ self-reliance and food security.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme needs $184 million to continue to scale up its response in northern Ethiopia to save lives and livelihoods to the end of the year. For all activities under its Country Strategic Plan, the U.N. World Food Programme has a funding shortfall of $426 million. Additional funding is vital to allow the U.N. World Food Programme to keep saving and changing lives in Ethiopia.

Video footage of Amhara operations here

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA, @wfp_media and @wfp_ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA –  As conflict spills across Northern Ethiopia, forcing 300,000 people from their homes and 1.7 million into hunger in Afar and Amhara provinces, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has announced an unprecedented funding gap of $426 million across its operation in Ethiopia and appealed for funds to meet the needs of up to 12 million people this year.

This month the U.N. World Food Programme started delivering emergency relief food assistance to communities in regions bordering war-torn Tigray. In coordination with Ethiopia’s Federal and Regional Government authorities, the U.N. World Food Programme plans to immediately reach 530,000 people in Afar and 250,000 people in Amhara, but will scale up as needs increase and if funding is received.

Meanwhile in Tigray, food security continues to worsen as the U.N. World Food Programme and its partners struggle to scale up and meet the urgent food needs of 5.2 million people across the region. Food stocks held by the U.N. World Food Programme and partners had been almost entirely depleted until yesterday, when the first convoy for over two weeks entered the region. The U.N. World Food Programme-led convoy of over 100 trucks carried 3,500 metric tons of food and other lifesaving cargo – including fuel and health and shelter items.

“The U.N. World Food Programme welcomes the collaboration from federal and local authorities in Afar to ensure our convoy finally made it safely into Tigray,” said Michael Dunford, the U.N. World Food Programme’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa. “But much more is needed and this momentum must be sustained otherwise we cannot hope to deliver enough food to save millions from falling deeper into hunger.”

The U.N. World Food Programme teams on the ground can now start delivering the next round of food distributions in Tigray. The U.N. World Food Programme will reach up to 3 million people in the region, an increase of 900,000 since it took over operations in two northwestern Zone districts – Shire town and Tahtay Koraro – from its non-governmental food partners.

“Time is running out for millions across Northern Ethiopia and if we don’t get additional funding right away we will be forced to cut rations or, even worse, halt distributions to some 4 million people we’re trying to reach in Afar, Amhara and Tigray in the coming months,” added Dunford.

Aside from the escalating fighting in the north of the country, food security for millions across the whole of Ethiopia is under threat due to an unprecedented funding gap for U.N. World Food Programme operations in the country. Across Ethiopia, over 13.6 million people are estimated to be hungry due to the prolonged combined effects of drought, flooding, desert locust invasions, market disruptions and high food prices, and the COVID-19 pandemic – all exacerbated by the recent conflict spreading across northern parts of the country.

The U.N. World Food Programme is calling for an additional $426 million to expand its emergency food assistance response over the next six months as well as provide long-term food security solutions for people as they enter the yearly hunger season.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA, @WFP_Ethiopia and @WFP_Africa

ADDIS ABABA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) delivered food to over a million people in the northwest and parts of southern Tigray in June and July under the second round of distributions, despite numerous challenges. But severe shortages of food, cash, fuel and functioning telecommunications equipment mean the U.N. World Food Programme has only reached half of those it planned to reach, including communities on the verge of famine.

The U.N. World Food Programme aims to reach 2.1 million people with emergency food assistance from August onwards and needs at least 6,000 metric tons of food each week to do so. Due to insecurity and operational constraints, it has been unable to bring these quantities into Tigray in recent weeks.

More than 175 trucks arrived in the Tigray region, via the Abala corridor, during the first week of August. This included 90 trucks loaded with over 5,000 metric tons of lifesaving food. An additional 90 trucks are expected to arrive in the coming days to further replenish stocks of food, fuel, nutrition, health, WASH and shelter items in the region.

But with 5.2 million people in the region (90 percent of the Tigray population) in need of humanitarian food assistance – the U.N. World Food Programme and partners require at least 100 trucks to be arriving daily to meet the vast needs.

“People in Tigray are suffering due to lack of humanitarian support over the past month – we need to reach them now before they fall into famine. The U.N. World Food Programme is calling for all parties to agree to a ceasefire and guarantee an unimpeded flow of humanitarian supplies into Tigray, so that we can deliver lifesaving food and other emergency supplies safely before it’s too late,” said Michael Dunford, the U.N. World Food Programme’s Corporate Response Director for Tigray.

“Others in neighboring regions are also falling deeper into hunger as a result of the conflict and the U.N. World Food Programme is working with the Government to reach communities in Afar and Amhara with lifesaving food as soon as possible,” added Dunford.

The June IPC results indicate that up to 400,000 people will be facing famine-like conditions by September due to conflict, lack of market access, missed planting season and insufficient humanitarian support. To date, the U.N. World Food Programme has reached 2 million people with emergency food assistance across eastern, southern and northwestern zones of Tigray.

The agricultural planting season has been missed in many parts of Tigray and estimates show only 25 to 50 percent of the normal cereal production will be available this year. As a result, people in Tigray are expected to rely on food assistance up to the next year’s harvest season in October 2022.

Preliminary nutrition screening data shows Global Acute Malnourishment (GAM) rates near 30 percent for children under 5 years old and up to 80 percent for pregnant and breastfeeding women. UNICEF estimates 100,000 children in the region could die from complications of severe malnourishment. To date the U.N. World Food Programme has reached more than 400,000 vulnerable mothers and children with nutritionally fortified food, including 120,000 in July across 43 districts.

An additional 300,000 people are facing emergency levels of hunger in neighboring Afar and Amhara regions, where over 250,000 people have been displaced due to continued conflict. The U.N. World Food Programme plans to support up to 80,000 people in Afar, working closely with the regional Disaster Risk Management Bureau and the federal National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC).

The U.N. World Food Programme also plans to work with the NDRMC to provide relief food in Amhara region.

There have been 3 United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flights carrying 143 humanitarian staff to and from Tigray but these flights need to be operating at least twice a week to rotate humanitarian passengers in and out of the region.

Across Ethiopia, the U.N. World Food Programme aims to reach 11.9 million people in 2021 with food, nutrition and cash support and delivering activities to boost communities’ self-reliance and food security.

The U.N. World Food Programme needs $79 million to continue to scale up its response in Tigray to save lives and livelihoods to the end of the year. For all activities under its Country Strategic Plan, the U.N. World Food Programme has a funding shortfall of $288 million. Additional funding is vital to allow the U.N. World Food Programme to keep saving and changing lives in Ethiopia.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

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ADDIS ABABA – The first United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) passenger flight, which is managed by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), has touched down at Tigray’s Alula Aba Nega International Airport in Mekelle today.

It is the first passenger flight into the region since commercial flights were halted on June 24 and carried more than 30 employees from multiple humanitarian organizations working to deliver urgently needed assistance to conflict-affected communities across Tigray.

“The U.N. World Food Programme and our fellow emergency responders on the ground in Mekelle are all enormously relieved to see this UNHAS flight arrive today, bringing in colleagues who are all essential in our collective efforts to scale up the humanitarian response and for the U.N. World Food Programme to reach 2.1 million people with lifesaving food assistance,” said Michael Dunford, the U.N. World Food Programme’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa.

From today, the UNHAS flights will operate twice a week, facilitating the regular movement of humanitarian personnel into and out of Tigray. However, the humanitarian response in the region continues to be challenged by a lack of sufficient food and other humanitarian supplies, limited communication services and no commercial supply chain.

With conflict escalating in surrounding regions, including Afar, the safe and secure passage for convoys to move humanitarian supplies into Tigray remains a primary concern for the U.N. World Food Programme and the humanitarian community, particularly after a U.N. World Food Programme convoy was attacked on the morning of July 18 while attempting to move essential humanitarian cargo into Tigray.

Another U.N. World Food Programme-led convoy of over 200 trucks containing food and other essential humanitarian supplies is currently on standby in Semera and expected to depart for Tigray as soon as security clearances are assured.

“Famine is preventable and the power to avert it is in the hands of all parties concerned. The U.N. World Food Programme is calling for all parties to agree to a ceasefire so the humanitarian response can be rapidly scaled up and all routes can be used urgently to reach those most in need,” added Dunford.

  • Despite the numerous challenges, the U.N. World Food Programme has managed to deliver food to over 730,000 people in parts of the south and northwest in the past month (under Round 2 distributions). This includes 40,000 people in Zana who were reached with food assistance for the first time.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme hopes to reach an additional 80,000 people in the northwest in the coming days. Once this is completed, food stocks are likely to run out.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme and its nutrition partners are working together to ensure nutrition supplies are reaching the families most in need. In June, the U.N. World Food Programme reached over 185,000 people with nutrition support but progress in early July was much slower due to security concerns with 30,000 people reached so far. The U.N. World Food Programme is now delivering nutrition support in areas previously unreached throughout the conflict, including those with high malnutrition rates.
  • There is currently 7,500 metric tons of food inside Tigray stored in the U.N. World Food Programme’s warehouses in Mekelle and Shire. The U.N. World Food Programme recently added an additional 13 trucks to its fleet within the region and plans to move in 30 more as soon as it is guaranteed safe and secure passage to do so.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme is providing logistics capacity to the Joint Emergency Response (JEOP, a consortium of NGOs funded by the United States) by transporting urgently needed food to those communities which haven’t yet been reached, particularly in rural areas in central zone.
  • The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification analysis in June projected that over 400,000 people would be suffering from catastrophic levels of hunger from July onwards. Across Tigray, 4 million people—70 percent of the population— have high levels of acute food insecurity and need emergency assistance.
  • Across Ethiopia, the U.N. World Food Programme aims to reach 11.9 million people in 2021 with food, nutrition and cash support and delivering activities to boost communities’ self-reliance and capacity in order to be food secure.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme needs $176 million to continue to scale up its response in Tigray to save lives and livelihoods to the end of the year. For all activities under its Country Strategic Plan, the U.N. World Food Programme has a funding shortfall of $377 million. Additional funding is vital to allow the U.N. World Food Programme to keep saving and changing lives in Ethiopia.

#                 #                   #

The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA, @wfp_media and @wfp_ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA – A United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) convoy of 50 trucks arrived in the Tigrayan capital of Mekelle today with 900 metric tons of food as well as other emergency supplies. However, double this number of trucks needs to be moving in every day to meet the vast humanitarian needs in the region.

With almost 4 million people in need of emergency food assistance in Tigray, the U.N. World Food Programme needs to transport over 10,000 metric tons of food and nearly 40,000 gallons of fuel every week on behalf of the humanitarian sector.

“The U.N. World Food Programme welcomes clearance from the Government of Ethiopia for this convoy’s safe passage into Tigray region,” said U.N. World Food Programme Emergency Coordinator Tommy Thompson. “But we need double this number of trucks arriving daily, and we need them to take two days to reach Mekelle instead of the four-day journey this time if we are to reach the millions of people in need of lifesaving assistance.”

“Our stocks of food and fuel are still at alarmingly low levels. The U.N. World Food Programme and other emergency responders need guarantees of regular and secure passage every day to save lives and livelihoods at scale across the region,” he added. “We are still operating hand-to-mouth. For fuel alone, we need 20 tankers to reach Tigray each month. At this rate, the U.N. World Food Programme cannot hope to scale up to reach over 2 million people in need of food assistance in Tigray.”

  • The convoy consisted of a 12,680-gallon fuel tanker, 29 U.N. World Food Programme food trucks, six U.N. World Food Programme trucks with mobile storage units and other items and 14 trucks with health, WASH, shelter and nutrition items for the humanitarian community. The Logistics Cluster, co-led by the U.N. World Food Programme, helped humanitarian partners to join the convoy.
  • The 29 truckloads of wheat, split peas and vegetable oil will cover the urgent food needs of 200,000 people for a week in Tigray. The convoy travelled 277 miles from Semera to Mekele via Abala in four days. It passed through over ten checkpoints on the way, where the humanitarian cargo was rigorously checked.
  • It was the first humanitarian convoy to reach Tigray since the U.N. World Food Programme re-started operations in the Northwest on July 2 following fighting. Since then it has provided 135,000 people with emergency food.
  • In addition to warehouses in Kombolcha and Gondar, the U.N. World Food Programme is expanding its storage capacity in Semera in, Eastern Ethiopia to supply Tigray with food. In Tigray, the U.N. World Food Programme has warehouses in Mekele and Shire and has built 20 mobile storage units in the Northwest to house food as close to communities as possible.
  • Across Ethiopia, the U.N. World Food Programme aims to reach 11.9 million people in 2021 with food, nutrition and cash support and delivering activities to boost communities’ self-reliance and capacity to be food secure.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme currently supports 2.4 million people affected by climate shocks in the Somali region and in addition, plans to treat over 1 million malnourished women and children across the country in the next six months. Last month, the U.N. World Food Programme provided school meals to 200,000 vulnerable children in Afar and Oromia regions.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme needs $176 million to continue to scale up its response in Tigray to save lives and livelihoods to the end of the year. For all activities under its Country Strategic Plan  for Ethiopia, the U.N. World Food Programme has a funding shortfall of $377 million. Additional funding is vital to allow the U.N. World Food Programme to keep saving and changing lives in Ethiopia.
  • The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis projected that over 400,000 people would be suffering from catastrophic levels of hunger in Tigray from July onwards. Across the region, 4 million people—70 percent of the population— have high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC 3-5) and need emergency assistance.

Video footage of convoy here
Photos available here

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA@wfp_media and @wfp_ethiopia

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