June 17, 2022 (ENA) World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley said the current humanitarian truce declared by the Ethiopian government has opened greater access to operations in Tigray region.

At the conclusion of his visit to Ethiopia, the executive director told reporters last night that some 2,500 trucks carrying food and other items have entered the region during the last two months.

The Government of Ethiopia declared an indefinite humanitarian truce in March 2022 to expedite the provision of humanitarian aid for the needy people in Tigray region.

The truce has been commended by the international community as the right move that save lives and reduce human suffering.

Beasley underscored that the humanitarian truce is enormously contributing to better access the conflict areas.

“The humanitarian truce itself has opened up greater access for our operations. We have now moved about in the last 60 days……probably 2,500 trucks, mostly food but also other items of support for the people in the region.”

The executive director who also visited drought-stricken Somali region said recurrent droughts, conflict, COVID-19, and the Russia-Ukraine war have been exacerbating the food insecurity problem in Ethiopia and around the globe.

In Ethiopia, for example, an estimated 7.4  million people wake up hungry every day in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia alone as the country grapples with the most severe drought since 1981.

The number of victims in the country has increased to 20 million because of the conflict, COVID-19, climate and other crises, the executive director stated, adding  that of those 13 million people live in the northern Ethiopian regions of Tigray, Afar, and Amhara.

Beasley further revealed that WFP is now forced to reduce rations for beneficiaries in Ethiopia due to shortage created by destabilization of nations, mass migration and COVID-19.

The executive director called on donor countries to double their humanitarian contributions as the size of the needy population is steadily increasing.

“So it is desperate, it is extraordinary; and this is a time when we’re asking donors around the world to step up in ways they have never stepped up before.”

Sweden’s International Development Cooperation Minister Matilda Ernkrans, who also visited  the drought affected areas, said climate change and conflict are the major driving forces toward increasing humanitarian needs in Ethiopia.

She also expressed the Swedish government’s commitment to support Ethiopia.

“The government of Sweden remains committed to supporting Ethiopians. Our countries have long standing and very strong people to people ties. Moreover, Sweden is part of one of the largest humanitarian donors to Ethiopia. So far this year, we have contributed humanitarian funding amounting 35 million USD.”

Ernkrans further pointed out that the government of Sweden has adopted this week a five-year strategy amounting 35 million USD per year for development cooperation with Ethiopia.    

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