from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – THE seizure of humanitarian fuel supplies by an armed group will push millions further into hunger in northern Ethiopia.
This coincided with the resumption of fighting in the region.
In the past few months, the humanitarian truce had enabled World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners to reach almost 5 million people in Tigray.
However that lifeline was severed on Wednesday when a group of armed men entered WFP’s compound in Mekelle and forcibly seized 12 tankers filled with over 500 litres of fuel.
WFP had purchased the fuel a few days prior to the incident.
David Beasley, Executive Director of the WFP, explained that without fuel, it is impossible for WFP to distribute food, fertilizer, medicines and other emergency supplies across Tigray.
It also prevents WFP from powering generators and vehicles, so that it and humanitarian partners can meet the needs of the vulnerable populations of Tigray, where an estimated 5,2 million people face severe hunger.
“The loss of this fuel will push communities in Tigray, already struggling with the impacts of the conflict, further towards the brink of starvation,” Beasley lamented.
WFP has demanded the Tigrayan authorities to ensure return these fuel stocks to the humanitarian community immediately.
“As the next harvest is not until October, our deliveries of life-saving food could not be more urgent or critical to the survival of millions,” Beasley said.
“We are working around the clock to get assistance to those most in need, but we need fuel, funding, and full movement of supplies across the lines of control to maximise deliveries across Northern Ethiopia.”
Tigray has been in conflict since the end of 2020 after the regional government defied the federal administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
– CAJ News