Millions More in Need of Food Assistance as a Direct Result of Conflict in Northern Ethiopia

Photo: WFP/Arete/Ed Ram
Published November 29, 2021

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.

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