Addis Ababa — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has begun providing emergency food assistance to vulnerable people in Ethiopia's Tigray Region but urgently needs US$170 million to meet critical food and nutrition needs over the next six months, and to be able to cover any sudden increase.
The Government estimates that 4.5 million people need emergency food assistance until late this year and has requested WFP support 1.4 million of them. The outbreak of conflict in Tigray last November coincided with the peak harvest period, meaning employment and incomes were lost, markets were disrupted, food prices rose, and access to cash and fuel became very difficult.
"In addition to the needs of local communities, we face a major challenge to support hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people whose tales of hardship and suffering are harrowing and heart-breaking," said WFP Representative and Country Director Steven Were Omamo after visiting East, Central and Northwest Tigray.
"The steadfast resilience of the people of Tigray is truly extraordinary. The Government and partners are providing life-saving food and nutrition support to many, but much more is required to ensure food and nutrition security for these vulnerable people."
"The situation is very challenging, but it is important to recognize that humanitarian assistance can be delivered to large parts of the region," said Omamo. "Right now though, WFP and other humanitarian agencies lack the resources to respond quickly and in full. We urge the international community to support our collective effort to save lives and livelihoods across Tigray. Not a moment can be lost."
In addition to delivering emergency food assistance in Tigray, WFP has started providing nutrition support for up to 875,000 vulnerable pregnant or breastfeeding women as well as children in the region over the next six months.
WFP is also providing transport and logistics support to the Government and its partners to deliver humanitarian assistance both to and within Tigray Region. WFP is also giving monthly food rations to 35,000 Eritrean refugees living in Adi Harush and Mai Ayni refugee camps in Tigray.