JUBA – The World Food Programme (WFP) has said that the famine in Ethiopia’s Tigray region has been averted and has attributed this new development to the unilateral truce declared by the Ethiopian government in March this year which the UN agency said has largely hold.
War in the troubled northern Tigray region broke out in November 2020 following an attempt by elements belonging to the rebellious Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to disarm Ethiopian federal army soldiers deployed there as part of the ENDF Northern Command.
As a result of the outbreak of war, famine was declared by agencies such as the WFP and calls mounted on the parties to the conflict to stop fighting so as to allow humanitarian organizations to deliver the much needed aid to the people in Tigray.
The Ethiopian government in March declared a unilateral ceasefire to allow in humanitarian aid. The TPLF immediately followed and announced its own truce. The ceasefire has allowed delivery of aid to Tigray with government clearing impediments in Afar and Amhara regions.
Speaking to the BBC yesterday, 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.