Ethiopian Government Slams Two Major Aid Organizations For Halting Aid

The Ethiopian government has criticized two major international aid organizations to stop food assistance to the country after they found that the aid was being diverted from those who were in need of it, reported Africa News.

Government spokesman Legesse Tulu on Saturday told reporters that the decision taken by USAID and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is political and “punishes millions”. Notably, over 15% of Ethiopia’s population depends on food aid.

On Thursday, the United States government’s main international aid agency, USAID, said it was ceasing food distribution to Ethiopia and would resume it as soon as the agency gets confidence in the integrity of the distribution systems.

The UN’s WFP also stopped the aid on Friday, saying it was temporarily halting only some food aid assistance.

The decision is likely to affect millions of Ethiopians who are facing severe food shortages due to a war in the northern region of Tigray, and a record-breaking drought that has also hit Kenya and Somalia.

Last month, both the USAID and WFP announced would freeze food assistance to the war-hit Tigray after it was found that the aid was being diverted.

Neither agency nor the Ethiopian government has identified the people responsible for diverting the aid.

However, the Ethiopian government’s spokesman Tulu said it is unacceptable to make the government only responsible for the diversions.

On Friday, the Ethiopian government said in a joint statement with USAID that it was taking measures to address the deeply concerning revelations of food aid diversion.

Last month, the UN’s humanitarian agency (OCHA) said around 20 million people in Ethiopia depend on food aid due to conflict and drought.

Ethiopia currently is home to nearly one million refugees from South Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea. Almost 30,000 refugees from Sudan have found refuge in the country.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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