However, the distribution of supplies to Tigray is lagging due to several barriers to the movement of humanitarian aid, the UN agency warned.
7 million in dire need
“It is absolutely essential that we have the full cooperation and support of all parties to the conflict so that we can reach all those affected.” population with urgently needed food aid before we face a humanitarian catastrophe across northern Ethiopiasaid Tomson Phiri, WFP spokesman.
“Up to seven million people in the three regions (Tigray, Amhara and Afar) are now in urgent need of food aid; 5.2 million people in Tigray and the rest are in Afar and in Amhara‘ he told journalists in Geneva.
In the regions of Afar and Amhara, more than 840,000 people (700,000 in Amhara and 140,000 in Afar) have been displaced as a result of the current conflict, according to government estimates.
Since August 15, the WFP has delivered food to nearly 300,000 people in Amhara and Afar, while nearly 2.5 million people have been reached with food aid in northwestern and parts of southern Tigray, Mr Phiri said, pointing out that the WFP is looking to aims to reach nearly 3.5 million people. million people in all three regions; 2.7 in Tigray, 210,000 in Amhara and up to 540,000 in Afar in the next distribution round.
‘Food insecurity is on the rise’
Mr Phiri pointed out that in June the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) – which analyzes the severity of food insecurity – estimates that in Tigray up to 400,000 people would now face famine.
“Anecdotal reports from all three regions suggest that food insecurity is on the rise,” he said. The food pipeline in Tigray remains “hand in mouth”, he said, with “a multitude of problems affecting the free movement of convoys”.
🚨 OPERATIONAL UPDATE 🚨
WFP has completed round 1 of food distributions for people affected by conflict in #afar and #amhara, to nearly 300,000. In #Tigray, WFPs reached more than 2.4 million people in round 2 distributions.
Full update https://t.co/kqnPcQnnHx
— WFP_Ethiopia (@WFP_Ethiopia) October 5, 2021
However, according to the WFP spokesperson, there is positive news: “In recent weeks, security concerns have been largely overcome. Five convoys – 171 trucks – entered Tigray between September 5 and 29,” he said.
These carried a total of 6,150 tons of food and nutritional supplies. This is enough to feed more than 360,000 people for a month. Despite these recent convoys, only 11 percent of the humanitarian aid needed has entered the region.
Barriers to the Delivery of Freight
Mr Phiri told the meeting that one of the… major barriers to cargo delivery was that the vast majority of commercial trucks were unable to return from Tigray.
However, he said the WFP has continued to work with commercial carriers to resolve any issues preventing the trucks from leaving. Recently, “we have had over 90 commercial trucks that have left Tigray and are now available to transport humanitarian aid to the region”.
Fuel stocks are running out
But he repeated that the the combined needs of the humanitarian sector require “100 trucks to arrive daily to deliver food baskets of legumes and vegetable oil to 210,000 people a day”.
Mr Phiri also stressed that while the WFP has managed to get 90 trucks to leave Tigray, “the fuel supply is critically low”.
Pointing out that fuel is “vital to keep operations running and to facilitate the movement of humanitarian aid into and through the region”he stressed that the WFP “needs 200,000 liters of fuel coming into Tigray every week to keep operations going”.
$426 million short
Across Ethiopia, the WFP aims to reach 11.9 million people by 2021 with food, nutrition and money and provide activities to increase the self-reliance and food security of communities.
However, the WFP continues to face resource challenges, the spokesperson said. “We need $184 million to further scale the response in Northern Ethiopia.”
For all operations in the country, WFP has a funding shortfall of $426 million. We will continue to push for additional funding and more and sustainable access so that we can continue to provide timely assistance.”