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Ethiopia in the throes of famine


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Aid was stopped by donor agencies due to irregularity and theft of food, about 20 million people were affected.

After the United Nations and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) stopped food supply, the problem of starvation in the African country Ethiopia has been observed.

The World Food Program (WFP) of the United Nations has announced that aid has been stopped for the time being due to irregularities in the food provided by donor agencies. USAID also stopped food aid to Ethiopia just a few days ago. They said they would withhold aid until it was clear whether Ethiopian government officials or rebels were involved in the food theft.

It is not acceptable to give away the food given to the target group. However, we welcome the commitment of the Ethiopian government to investigate this case and prosecute those responsible,” said WFP Executive Director Cindy Makain.

In Ethiopia, with a population of 120 million, about 20 million citizens are at risk of starvation due to drought and conflict. Most of their aid has come from USAID and WFP. After these agencies stop supporting, it is estimated that malnutrition will increase again in the second most populous country in Africa.

Neither USAID, WFP nor the Ethiopian government has clarified who is responsible for the food irregularities. At the beginning of this year, USAID official Samantha Pawar told the US Committee on Foreign Relations that there were irregularities in the food supply in the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia. In a joint statement with USAID, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia clarified that it will be investigated together with the United States. He has also claimed that action will be taken against those involved in this type of irregularity in food.

The Tigray region has been a region of conflict for a long time, with food irregularities. Donor agencies had suspended aid since last month after there were reports of food theft. Of the 6 million people in the region, 5.4 million are dependent on aid from donor agencies.

Tesfa Kiros Meresfa, the pastor of a church in northern Ethiopia, has been on the go begging for food for days, as two years of war in the region have left many people on the brink of starvation. “I have no words to describe this pain,” said Tesfa. According to news agency AP, deaths due to starvation are being published in the Tigray region when aid is stopped. Tesfa, who lives in a school complex with hundreds of people affected by the conflict, said he was struggling with food. “We are forced to sleep most days without eating,” he said.

Last year, Ethiopia’s humanitarian aid sector faced major problems when USAID delayed $1.8 billion in 2022 and food was not delivered on time. Millions of people were starving and the remaining food was looted. UN researchers warned of war crimes linked to starvation.

Today’s hunger is linked to corruption. Officials in Tigray have reported that 7,000 metric tons of aided wheat has been looted in their region. The exact details of food looting in other areas are not yet public. Officials of donor agencies say that officials of government agencies are involved in food irregularities. Ethiopian government officials are also accused of increasing the number of beneficiaries and securing food for themselves. The agricultural production season is now over in Ethiopia. In the next season, there will be less production. Therefore, a large number of local people are at risk of starvation. Tigray’s main hospital also reported a 28 percent increase in the number of children admitted with malnutrition from March to April.

However, senior USID officials have noted that they see little prospect of reform to resume assistance in Ethiopia. A few weeks ago, WFP released a statement saying that the support program for Ethiopian children, mothers, and livestock farmers affected by drought will continue.

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