File Photo: WFP’s life-saving nutrition support for children and women in Ethiopia. Courtesy of United Nations World Food Program Website
The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said on Wednesday that it needs 170 million US dollars to respond to the food security situation in Ethiopia's northern Tigray regional state.
In a press statement, the WFP said it urgently needs 170 million dollars to meet "critical food and nutrition needs" in Tigray over the next six months and to be able to cover any sudden increase there.
"The Ethiopian government estimates that 4.5 million people need emergency food assistance until late this year and has requested WFP to support 1.4 million of them," the statement said.
The outbreak of conflict in Tigray last November coincided with the peak harvest period, meaning employment and incomes were lost, markets were disrupted, food prices rose, and access to cash and fuel became very difficult, the WFP said.
"In addition to the needs of local communities, we face a major challenge to support hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people whose tales of hardship and suffering are harrowing and heart-breaking," the statement quoted WFP Representative and Country Director Steven Were Omamo as saying after visiting East, Central and Northwest Tigray.
"The situation is very challenging, but it is important to recognize that humanitarian assistance can be delivered to large parts of the region," Omamo said.
He said the WFP and other humanitarian agencies lack the resources to respond quickly and in full.
"We urge the international community to support our collective effort to save lives and livelihoods across Tigray," he said. "Not a moment can be lost."
Months of fighting in Tigray has reportedly left thousands of people dead, hundreds of thousands of others displaced, and millions in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
According to Ethiopian government, the conflict has displaced around 2.2 million people, while 4.5 million people are in need of emergency aid.