ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has denied a claim by the World Food Programme (WFP) that it has averted the famine in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region after a March 2022 ceasefire allowed in much-needed humanitarian supplies.
On July 15, WFP Director for Northern Ethiopia Adrian van der Knaap said the humanitarian ceasefire has allowed the UN agency to bring in the much-needed aid to the people of Tigray region.
“There is good news and bad news. The good news is that the humanitarian truce that was agreed in March is holding and allowed us to bring in humanitarian supplies. We got food for 1.1 million people and we have food for the remaining one million,” Knaap said.
“The bad news is that after 20 months of war, not only in Tigray, but also in Amhara and Afar, the situation is not getting better. We do need more corridors. We want the humanitarian truce to continue,” he added.
When asked if the delivery of the humanitarian supplies means that that the famine has been averted, Knaap agreed, but said there is need for the humanitarian to continue so as for the WFP to continue food delivery to the northern Ethiopian region.
“Yes it has been averted, but it doesn’t mean that the situation remains like this and that is why I said that the humanitarian truce has allowed us to bring in supplies. This needs to continue, but after 20 months of war, people have exhausted all their alternatives,” he said.
HEIGHT OF IRRESPONSIBILITY
Reacting to the statement by the senior WFP official, TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda said the claim is unfounded and said there are still exists difficulties in delivering to the needy the aid that was allowed to Tigray region by the ceasefire.
“WFP is claiming that famine in Tigray has been averted, as food trucks have managed to deliver essential supplies. The claim is gross to say the least. It took aid agencies more than 9 months to bring in supplies it meant for 6 weeks. In many cases, beneficiaries have not received anything in 9 months,” he wrote on Twitter.
“WFP itself acknowledges that it still faces difficulties transporting what little supply there is to the needy because of lack of fuel. The claim that they have averted famine is the height of irresponsibility!” he added.