The United States and the World Food Program (WFP) announced on Wednesday that they were suspending "until further notice" their food aid to the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia, ravaged by years of conflict, denouncing the diversion of ugly.
“We have made the difficult decision to pause all USAID food assistance to the Tigray region until further notice,” the USAID Administrator said in a statement. for Development and Humanitarian Aid), Samantha Power.
And this is because part of this aid has been "diverted and sold on the local market", she adds.
For its part, the Rome-based World Food Program says it has decided, according to a press release, on a "pause in the distribution of food in Tigray, which will not resume until the WFP can be able to ensure that this aid vital does indeed reach its intended recipients".
The U.S. government has raised the matter with Ethiopian authorities as well as local authorities in Tigray who "expressed their willingness to work with us to identify those responsible and hold them to account," the statement said. USAID.
However, the organization specifies that this does not concern nutritional supplements, the distribution of drinking water, and support for agricultural activities in the region. Last month, AP reported that the missing supplies included enough food to feed 100,000 people, taken from a warehouse in the town of Sheraro, Tigray.
The amount of food aid involved was not specified, but the United States is the largest humanitarian contributor to Ethiopia. "This diversion once again strikes an innocent civilian population," the statement continued, stressing that "millions of people live in acute food insecurity".
Getachew Reda, the interim president of Tigray, said he had formed a task force "to prevent and investigate crimes committed in relation to humanitarian aid and uphold the rule of law".
He called the diversion of aid "a double injustice and a crime committed against children, the elderly, and the disabled (who) suffer from starvation and disease".
This break comes six months after the signing on November 2 between the Ethiopian federal government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) of a "Cessation of Hostilities Agreement" ending two years of brutal war. and murderous.
On Tuesday, the United States welcomed in a press release the "significant progress" made in the implementation of this agreement even if the challenges remain numerous. During the conflict, Tigray and its six million inhabitants were deprived of assistance for a long time. Since then, "84% of the region is experiencing a food crisis", according to the WFP.
Northern Ethiopia "has become more accessible", but the aid does not reach "the required scale", underlined the UN humanitarian agency (Ocha) at the beginning of April.