World Food Programme warns of ‘imminent halt’ in aid operations – a global issue

Tigray’s escalating conflict means no WFP Aid convoys have been able to reach the regional capital, Mekelle, since Dec. 14.

warehouse is empty

Adding to the concern, stocks of nutritionally fortified foods used to treat malnourished women and children are now running out, with WFP’s last batch of grains, pulses and oils due to be distributed this week.

“Food distributions are at an all-time low because of the fighting,” WFP spokesman Tomson Phiri said in Geneva. “WFP aid workers on the ground told me that the warehouse is completely empty…in my experience, this is a very scary sign and it almost never happens. “

“We must now choose who goes hungry to prevent another from starving,” said WFP regional director for East Africa Michael Dunford. “We need immediate assurances from all parties to the conflict that a safe and secure humanitarian corridor will be established through all routes through northern Ethiopia.

Humanitarian supplies are simply not moving at the speed and scale needed, the WFP’s Mr Dunford warned, this meant the agency was only 20 percent of what it wanted to achieve in the latest round of Tigray distributions. “We are on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe,” he said.

multiple air strikes

Since the beginning of the year, there have been numerous airstrikes in Tigray, the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, Say At least 108 civilians have been killed and another 75 injured since the beginning of the year, allegedly as a result of operations by the Ethiopian Air Force.

OHCHR spokesperson Liz Throssell issued an alert in Geneva, condemning “multiple and deeply disturbing reports” of civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure.

Targets include camps for displaced persons and refugees, a training academy and a private minibus from Adiet to the city of Axum, near the Eritrean border.

A public flour mill was also targeted in a suspected drone strike on Monday, January 10, when 17 civilians were reportedly killed and 21 injured — most of them women — as they gathered to grind cereals.

deadliest attack

But the deadliest strike so far took place at the Dedebit camp on Monday, January 7, killing at least 59 people and injuring 30 others. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Said to leave him”deeply saddened“.

We call on the Ethiopian authorities and their allies to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian objects, consistent with their obligations under international law. Any attack, including air strikes, should fully respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in attack,” Ms Throssell told reporters in Geneva.

“In particular, parties to a conflict must take all feasible measures to verify that the target is indeed a military target and to suspend the attack if the target is clearly not a military target or the attack is disproportionate. Failure to respect the principles of distinction and proportionality may constitute a war crime.”

chronic cash shortage

More than a year into conflict in northern Ethiopia, an estimated 9.4 million people need humanitarian food aidThis is an increase of 2.7 million from four months ago and is the “highest number to date,” the WFP said in a statement.

UN agencies plan to provide food aid to 2.1 million people in Tigray, 650,000 people in the neighbouring Amhara district and 534,000 people in the Afar district.

run out of food

next month, The WFP also warned that millions of people “all over Ethiopia” could run out of food and nutrition supplies due to unprecedented funding shortfalls.

It called for an additional $337 million for emergency food aid in northern Ethiopia and $170 million over the next six months for people affected by severe drought in Somalia.