Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Ethiopia: UN Agency Suspends Food Supplies Over Military Seizures

The organization cited reports that supplies are being diverted to the Ethiopian military. The announcement comes a day after the US also suspended deliveries.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday that it has suspended food aid assistance to Ethiopia.

The organization cited reports that supplies are being diverted to the Ethiopian military as the reason for the move.

The announcement comes a day after the US said it was halting its own aid program in the northeast African country.

Last month, the US and the WFP both suspended deliveries to the northern Tigray region over similar theft reports.

What are the claims of donation theft?

An internal briefing by a group of foreign donors said that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) believes that food aid had been stolen for use by Ethiopian military units.

USAID has described the theft as “widespread and coordinated.”

“Our first concern is the millions of hungry people who depend on our support, and our teams will work tirelessly with all partners to resume our operations as soon as we can,” Executive Director Cindy McCain said.

McCain said the WFP welcomed Addis Ababa’s offer to launch a probe into the claims of donation theft.

“Food diversion is absolutely unacceptable, and we welcome the government of Ethiopia’s commitment to investigate and hold accountable those responsible,” she said.

The WFP said that programs providing nutrition assistance to children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, school meal programs and activities for building the resilience of farmers and pastoralists would continue.

“WFP is working closely with its U.N. and humanitarian partners and local stakeholders to reform the way assistance is delivered across Ethiopia and in all high-risk operational contexts where we work,” it said.