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The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has delivered food to over a million people in the north-west and parts of southern Tigray in June and July under the second round of distributions, despite numerous challenges

AdobeStock 263955468 WFP also plans to work with the NDRMC to provide relief food in Amhara region. (Image source: Adobe stock)

WFP aims to reach 2.1 million people with emergency food assistance from August onwards and needs at least 6,000 mt of food each week to do so. Due to insecurity and operational constraints, it has been unable to bring these quantities into Tigray in recent weeks.

More than 175 trucks arrived in the Tigray region, via the Abala corridor, during the first week of August. This included 90 trucks loaded with over 5,000 metric tonnes of life-saving food. An additional 90 trucks are expected to arrive in the coming days to further replenish stocks of food, fuel, nutrition, health, WASH and shelter items in the region.

Michael Dunford, corporate response director, WFP, said, “People in Tigray are suffering due to lack of humanitarian support over the past month – we need to reach them now before they fall into famine. WFP is calling for all parties to agree to a ceasefire and guarantee an unimpeded flow of humanitarian supplies into Tigray, so that we can deliver lifesaving food and other emergency supplies safely before it’s too late.” 

The June IPC results indicate that up to 400,000 people will be facing famine-like conditions by September due to conflict, lack of market access, missed planting season and insufficient humanitarian support. 

The agricultural planting season has been missed in many parts of Tigray and estimates show -only 25% to 50% of the normal cereal production will be available this year. As a result, people in Tigray are expected to rely on food assistance up to the next year’s harvest season in October 2022.

Preliminary nutrition screening data shows Global Acute Malnourishment (GAM) rates near 30% for children under five years old and up to 80% for pregnant and breastfeeding women. UNICEF estimates 100,000 children in the region could die from complications of severe malnourishment. To date WFP has reached more than 400,000 vulnerable mothers and children with nutritionally fortified food, including 120,000 in July across 43 districts.

WFP plans to support up to 80,000 people in Afar, working closely with the regional Disaster Risk Management Bureau and the federal National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC).

WFP needs US$79mn to continue to scale up its response in Tigray to save lives and livelihoods to the end of the year. For all activities under its Country Strategic Plan, WFP has a funding shortfall of US$288 million. Additional funding is vital to allow WFP to keep saving and changing lives in Ethiopia.