WFP needs $426 mln in aid for Ethiopia amid hunger crisis

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The World Food Program needs $426 million in emergency funding over the next six months to feed millions of people in Ethiopia, including 5.2 million people in Tigray, a region that has been in conflict for the past ten-months.

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The food crisis has been fueled by a conflict between federal forces and troops from the northern Tigray region that erupted in November and has spread into the neighboring Afar and Amhara regions. Tens of thousands of farmers have fled their land, missing the agricultural planting season in many parts of Tigray.

Failure to address the hunger crisis could risk broader civil unrest. The violence has scarred the nation’s reputation as one of Africa’s top investment destinations and sent its Eurobonds plummeting.

More than 13.6 million people across Ethiopia are estimated to be food insecure, the UN agency said. The effects of the conflict have been compounded by drought, flooding, desert-locust invasions, market disruptions, high food prices, and the Covid-19 pandemic, it said.

“Time is running out for millions across Northern Ethiopia, Michael Dunford, WFP’s regional director for Eastern Africa, said in a statement. “If we don’t get additional funding right away we will be forced to cut rations or, even worse, halt distributions to some 4 million people we’re trying to reach in Afar, Amhara and Tigray in the coming months.

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