US and UN abruptly cease food aid to Ethiopia’s Tigray amidst tangled web of diverted shipments and baffling circumstances
Welcome to the perplexing world of aid distribution in Ethiopia’s Tigray region! Brace yourselves, as the US and the UN have announced that food aid will be halted “until further notice” due to diverted shipments being sold on local markets. Samantha Power, head of USAID, made the difficult decision to pause all food assistance after discovering that food aid intended for famine-stricken people in Tigray was being sold on local markets. The World Food Programme (WFP) has also paused food distributions in Tigray after similar discoveries. No one knows who the culprits behind the food diversion are, but both the US and the UN have raised the issue with Ethiopian federal and Tigray regional officials. The WFP has reminded officials to monitor and report illicit activities and enforce food distribution agreements to ensure that vital aid reaches its intended recipients. Power has pledged to restart paused food assistance only when strong oversight measures are in place. In the meantime, millions of people in Tigray continue to suffer from food shortages after a devastating two-year war between pro-government forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. The WFP is resolutely committed to ensuring life-saving food assistance reaches those most in need efficiently and effectively.