Food assistance to Ethiopia has been halted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a result of a “widespread and coordinated campaign” to divert food aid away from those in need. Over 20 million Ethiopians require food assistance due to a recent battle in the northern Tigray region and a drought.
The organization is the country’s largest humanitarian donor. USAID believes the food has been redirected to Ethiopian military formations, by an internal briefing by foreign donors to Ethiopia. USAID is also a Humanitarian and Resilience Donor Group (HRDG) member.
Food Aid to Ethiopia
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen about the matter and praised their agreement to cooperate with the US to carry out a thorough inquiry.
As soon as USAID is assured of the integrity of the system, it intends to continue providing food assistance. Last month, the World Food Programme (WFP) stopped providing food aid to the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia as a result of allegations that the help was being misused. After causing famine-like circumstances and thousands of deaths, the fighting concluded in November.
- USAID halts food assistance to Ethiopia due to a coordinated campaign.
- USAID reports food redirected to Ethiopian military formations.
- HRDG briefing suggests cash transfers, donor awareness, and human rights protection.
The HRDG briefing document recommended alternate methods, like cash transfers, and urged donors to denounce the diversion and ensure aid workers are not harassed. In 2022, USAID distributed $1.5 billion in humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia.
The conflict in Tigray and the worst drought in decades in the Horn of Africa have worsened Ethiopia’s food problem.