The United Arab Emirates has supported the United Nations’ World Food Program’s (WFP) humanitarian response in Ethiopia with $60 million, the WFP announced on Tuesday.
The funding will go towards emergency food and nutrition assistance in response to an alarming rise in food insecurity, a global crisis which is on track to worsen in the coming months, particularly in the embattled northern part of Ethiopia.
Over the past 19 months, Ethiopia’s north has struggled with war, exhausting people’s coping mechanisms and displacing hundreds of thousands.
More than 13 million need urgent humanitarian food assistance, according to WFP, namely in conflict affected areas like Tigray, Amhara, and Afar.
The UAE funds will be delivered through the Famine Relief Fund which will address the food needs of 1.6 million in these conflict-affected areas.
“This new funding from the UAE comes to Ethiopians in their hour of need. We’ve seen some of the biggest increases in food insecurity across areas that have borne the brunt of recent fighting with homes, harvests, and livestock lost to the conflict and the country’s worst drought in 40 years,” Claude Jibidar, WFP’s Country Director and Representative in Ethiopia, said.
“As the lean season approaches people will further exhaust all means of coping and WFP’s food assistance is their only lifeline. The next three months are critical and we welcome the support and partnership of the UAE at this time – it is a contribution which will save the lives of millions.”
Due to the combination of conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine, conditions in Ethiopia have deteriorated, with inflation being at its highest peak in 10 years and the number of people in need of food assistance doubling over the past year to around 20.4 million.
This comes against the backdrop of a global food insecurity crisis which worsened since the onset of the war in Ukraine, leading to rising costs and disrupted food supply chains.
“New contributions from the UAE and other key donors have allowed WFP to continue scaling up its operations in Northern Ethiopia during a critical time for communities ahead of the planting season and since the Government’s announcement of a humanitarian truce in March,” the UN body said in a statement.
Over the past ten weeks, WFP-led convoys delivered over 3,800 trucks which provided over 130,000 tons of food and other lifesaving humanitarian supplies to Tigray.