Food suspension in Ethiopia neither humane nor moral

Caritas Internationalis, the Catholic Church’s leading humanitarian organisation, is pleading for International Development (USAID) and the World Food Programme (WFP) to immediately reinstate crucial food aid for Ethiopia.

The aid was halted on 30 March 2023 in the Tigray region following the discovery of “widespread and systemic” diversion of substantial food supplies intended for the starving populace.

The suspension was broadened to cover all of Ethiopia in early June.

“Millions of people have been without food for three months, severely impacting the health and safety of those already traumatised and deprived from a two-year war and extended drought,” emphasised Alistair Dutton, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis.

People cannot wait.

Essential aid

must reach

those in need immediately.

Every day is crucial.

While other essential aid such as nutrition programmes for women and children, safe drinking water and support for agricultural activities and development continues, the cessation of food distributions is further endangering lives, particularly those of the elderly, the unwell, children and internally displaced persons.

“People are dying from starvation. In recent weeks, hunger has claimed hundreds of lives in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region due to food scarcity. This is neither humane nor moral,” Dutton continued.

He added that theft and corruption in food aid must not be tolerated.

A comprehensive investigation is necessary he says – “Those responsible should be held accountable. To prevent future diversions, it is necessary to have strong, transparent accountability mechanisms in place.”

Caritas is echoing the pleas of several Ethiopian religious leaders.

In a joint letter to the Ethiopian Government, USAID and the WFP, Cardinal Berhaneyesus and Rev. Kes Yonas warned that further delays in food aid delivery will only exacerbate the crisis for those in need.

Patriarch Abune Mathias and Bishop Tesfaselassie Medhin also expressed their concerns about the severe suffering caused by the suspension of this crucial support.

Dutton concluded by saying that while USAID and WFP have stated that food assistance will resume only when robust monitoring measures are in place.

“People cannot wait. Essential aid must reach those in need immediately, as every day is crucial”, says Dutton.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , ,