ADDIS ABABA – A United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) convoy of 50 trucks arrived in the Tigrayan capital of Mekelle today with 900 metric tons of food as well as other emergency supplies. However, double this number of trucks needs to be moving in every day to meet the vast humanitarian needs in the region.
With almost 4 million people in need of emergency food assistance in Tigray, WFP needs to transport over 10,000 metric tons of food and 150,000 litres of fuel every week on behalf of the humanitarian sector.
“WFP welcomes clearance from the Government of Ethiopia for this convoy’s safe passage into Tigray region,” said WFP Emergency Coordinator Tommy Thompson. “But we need double this number of trucks arriving daily, and we need them to take two days to reach Mekelle instead of the four-day journey this time if we are to reach the millions of people in need of life-saving assistance.”
“Our stocks of food and fuel are still at alarmingly low levels. WFP and other emergency responders need guarantees of regular and secure passage every day to save lives and livelihoods at scale across the region,” he added. “We are still operating hand-to-mouth. For fuel alone, we need 20 tankers to reach Tigray each month. At this rate, WFP cannot hope to scale up to reach over 2 million people in need of food assistance in Tigray.”
The convoy consisted of a 48,000-litre fuel tanker, 29 WFP food trucks, six WFP trucks with mobile storage units and other items and 14 trucks with health, WASH, shelter and nutrition items for the humanitarian community. The Logistics Cluster, co-led by WFP, helped humanitarian partners to join the convoy.
The 29 truckloads of wheat, split peas and vegetable oil will cover the urgent food needs of 200,000 people for a week in Tigray. The convoy travelled 445 kilometres from Semera to Mekele via Abala in four days. It passed through over ten checkpoints on the way, where the humanitarian cargo was rigorously checked.
It was the first humanitarian convoy to reach Tigray since WFP re-started operations in the Northwest on 2 July following fighting. Since then it has provided 135,000 people with emergency food.
In addition to warehouses in Kombolcha and Gondar, WFP is expanding its storage capacity in Semera in, Eastern Ethiopia to supply Tigray with food. In Tigray, WFP has warehouses in Mekele and Shire and has built 20 mobile storage units in the Northwest to house food as close to communities as possible.
Across Ethiopia, WFP aims to reach 11.9 million people in 2021 with food, nutrition and cash support and delivering activities to boost communities’ self-reliance and capacity to be food secure.
WFP currently supports 2.4 million people affected by climate shocks in the Somali region and in addition, plans to treat over 1 million malnourished women and children across the country in the next six months. Last month, WFP provided school meals to 200,000 vulnerable children in Afar and Oromia regions.
WFP needs US$176 million 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 for Ethiopia, WFP has a funding shortfall of US$377 million. Additional funding is vital to allow WFP to keep saving and changing lives in Ethiopia.
The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis projected that over 400,000 people would be suffering from catastrophic levels of hunger in Tigray from July onwards. Across the region, 4 million people—70 percent of the population— have high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC 3-5) and need emergency assistance.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
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For more information please contact (email address: email@example.com):
Claire Nevill, WFP/Addis Ababa,
Mob. +251 094 433 4949
Peter Smerdon, WFP/Nairobi,
Mob. +254 707 722 104,
Tomson Phiri, WFP/ Geneva,
Mob. +41 79 842 8057
Frances Kennedy, WFP/ Rome,
Mob. +39 346 7600 806
Jane Howard, WFP/ London,
Mob. +44 (0)796 8008 474
Shaza Moghraby, WFP/New York,
Mob. + 1 929 289 9867
Steve Taravella, WFP/ Washington,
Mob. +1 202 770 5993