Addis Ababa — The UN World Food Program (WFP) and Ethiopia have hailed China's humanitarian support to drought-affected people and refugees in the East African country.
This came on Tuesday during a ceremony organized for the handover of China's fourth round humanitarian donation to Ethiopia at WFP office in the country's capital Addis Ababa.
The latest humanitarian contribution of China, which amounts to 6 million U.S. dollars, will be used to assist refugees and drought-affected people in Ethiopia.
In four rounds through bilateral and multilateral channels, China has so far provided an emergency aid to Ethiopia totaling roughly 36.6 million U.S. dollars, making China the third largest food aid contributor in the country.
In his remarks during the ceremony, Samir Wanmali, WFP Acting Country Director in Ethiopia, stated that the world has entered an era where Asia and Africa have become much more important players, and China is an important partner of WFP and Ethiopia.
The WFP and UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) last week appealed for 80 million dollars to provide food assistance to refugees in Ethiopia.
Speaking to reporters, in particular, the WFP Acting Country Director has commended China for its swift response after a call here by WFP and UNHCR last week for humanitarian support from the international community.
"China is very important partner for Ethiopian government and very important for WFP; and we are very proud to be part of a partnership, a bigger partnership between two very important countries in the world," he said.
"We believe our partnership with both the governments of Ethiopia and China is not only relevant to the humanitarian but moving ahead working on disaster risk management; working on development issues; we stand ready to support the Ethiopian government and to make sure it achieves its objectives and visions for the future," he added.
Urging all international partners to show solidarity as the Chinese have with Ethiopia, the Acting Director said, "I hope other donors and partners will take the Chinese example as a lead and step forward to support the Ethiopian government in this current time."
Speaking on his part, Mitiku Kassa, Ethiopia's Commissioner for National Disaster Risk Management, has commended China for its support to the efforts of drought response in Ethiopia.
"I would like to thank the people and government of China for your (Chinese) four round support to Ethiopia over the last years for the drought response that we are working together," he said, "Your contribution is so immense. It is not forgettable by the government of Ethiopia and the people of Ethiopia."
"I believe that China and Ethiopia are working together for their mutual interests and benefits. So, our foreign policy creates conducive and fertile environment to cooperate in a number of areas, be it development in a number of projects, and investment sectors as well as humanitarian area," he said.
The commissioner has expressed belief that the existing collaboration spirit between Ethiopia and China would continue in the future in a more strengthened manner.
Since 2015, Ethiopia has been suffering from the worst El-Nino induced drought in the past half century, Tan Jian, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, said, adding that it also hosts the second largest number of refugees in Africa, resulting from large influx of refugees to the country due to instability and conflicts in its neighboring countries.
The ambassador said the contribution from his country is a testimony of China's solidarity with Ethiopia.
"China is a member of the international community and is ready and willing to extend our support within our ability; our support is in the framework of the south-south cooperation. China is not a developed country, but China has been very active in contacting those countries in suffer of natural disasters," he said.
Noting that China's assistance to Ethiopia is a grant aid without preconditions under the south-south cooperation, the ambassador said, "I wish to highlight this point, given the recent allegations and accusations that China's approach in Africa has aggravated Africa's debt burden."
The ambassador has also expressed China's commitment to support countries like Ethiopia to enable them to address such problem in a sustainable manner.