The World Food Programme (WFP) lauded the declaration of the Ethiopian government humanitarian truce which has brought about a practical change to facilitate smooth flow of relief supply.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, WFP Representative and Country Director for Ethiopia Claude Jibidar said WFP is exerting maximum efforts to supply humanitarian aid in both drought and conflict areas, jointly with the Ethiopian government and other partners.
“I have seen convoys of 20 something trucks, 60 trucks, 18 trucks, 19 more trucks. Two days before, we delivered 130 trucks. We are in preparation of convoys of up to 200 trucks. Therefore, things are improving.”
It is to be recalled that over the weeks, the National Disaster Risk Management Commission stated that heavy trucks convoy departed from Samara, Afar, comprised 42 WFP trucks (1456.7mt), 13 CRS trucks (532mt), 12 LC/partners (435mt), and 6 fuel tankers.
The country director noted that the humanitarian truce declared by the Government of Ethiopia hugely helped WFP to manage, deliver and distribute relief supplies particularly in the conflict affected areas.
A research report by Professor Ann Fitz-Gerald on internally displaced persons (IDPs), however, said that crossed from Tigray into Amhara region, all the civilian respondents felt that no matter how much aid flowed into the Tigray regional state, priority would always be given to the TPLF leaders, some selected TPLF-linked businessmen (who were given some of the staples, like oil, to sell in their shops), and the fighters.
When asked whether the humanitarian organizations working in Tigray would challenge this form of aid distribution, all the respondents explained that these organizations had no voice in aid distribution; instead aid was all handed over to the TPLF leaders, the researcher revealed.
Responding to the question about diversion of humanitarian assistance by the terrorist TPLF, the WFP Representative and Country Director said that the World Food Programme will continue monitoring the problem and ensure that food will not be taken by people who are not intended beneficiaries.
He, however, warned that humanitarian supplies in Ethiopia would run short of stock unless the programme receives additional resources from donors by July and August.
“For now, we do have a certain level of the source on WFP side to be able to deliver and provide assistance in the areas we do have responsibility. However, let us be honest. We will run short of food. Particularly, July and August is going to be tough, if we don’t receive additional resources.”
There has been serious humanitarian situation with more than 20 million people affected by food insecurity in the country, he pointed out.
In the conflict affected areas of the northern part of the country about 13 million people have been severely affected and some 7.2 million people have been hit by drought in the southern part of the country.
The director stressed that as the size of the needy population is steadily increasing donor countries need to double their contributions for timely assistance.
“The numbers have been growing over the last few years. There is a very serious concern that if we can not bend that trend, the numbers will continue growing. That is our major concern. That is why the delivery of timely assistance is really crucial. If you miss the opportunity to assist people when they need it, then the situation keeps increasing.”
Noting that donors had committed to redoubling their contributions, the country director underlined that a timely and enhanced humanitarian supply is vital at this crucial moment in Ethiopia.
Explaining the restraint of the humanitarian supplies to the needy people in Ethiopia, he revealed that WFP has been forced to reduce the rations for cereals for the refugees.
Meanwhile, the Government Communication Service stated that the federal government has been facilitating humanitarian access to citizens under difficult situations in keeping with the promise it made.
The government also called on the international community to pressurize the group to return the 1,025 heavy trucks that entered Tigray with humanitarian aid and urged the invading force to refrain from spreading propaganda.
Source: Ethiopia News Agency