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U.S. provides aid for three million people facing famine In Tigray, Ethiopia

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[FILES] USAID. PHOTO: TWITTER


Administrator United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Samantha Power, has said that the United States, is providing more than $181 million to deliver life-saving food, agricultural supplies, safe drinking water, shelter, health care, and essential services to protect the most vulnerable in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, where a worsening humanitarian catastrophe threatens millions of civilians.

In a statement, she noted that the humanitarian aid will address life-threatening hunger and acute malnutrition by providing nearly 100,000 metric tons of food, enough to feed three million people for nearly two months as well as seeds, tools, and fertilizers for farmers to replant crops intentionally destroyed by armed actors.

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“In addition, USAID will help protect the most vulnerable with safe spaces and psychosocial support for women and girls, case management for survivors of gender-based violence, training for social workers and community case workers, and programs to reunite children separated from their families. The United States is the world’s largest donor of humanitarian assistance for the Tigray response, contributing nearly $487 million since the crisis began.”

She noted that as a result of the conflict, nearly 90 per cent of Tigray’s population, as many as 5.2 million people, needs urgent assistance. USAID experts report that food scarcity in Tigray may already rise to the level of famine, threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. “Communities are starving, and the number of malnourished children is increasing each week. These conditions will continue to worsen without vast improvements in humanitarian access, an immediate ceasefire, and an end to the systematic atrocities being committed against civilian populations by armed actors,” Power added.

According to her, despite the insecurity and severe constraints on humanitarian access, USAID and its partners are providing life-saving aid to millions who need it most.

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Since March 1, 2021, USAID has deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to lead the U.S. Government’s response on the ground. But, the United States cannot respond to the humanitarian crisis alone. The magnitude of this crisis is too vast, and with famine looming, the stakes are too high. Other donors must urgently step up to increase their contributions and raise their voices to secure an immediate ceasefire.

The Government of Ethiopia must remove the many barriers that continue to prevent aid workers from saving lives, and all parties to the conflict must take immediate steps to protect the security and safety of these workers—nine of whom have already lost their lives while serving others.

She however added that while humanitarian assistance will help alleviate urgent needs, it would not address the root causes of the suffering in Tigray. She called on all parties to end the fighting and work with the international community to secure a political settlement, promote national reconciliation, and ensure accountability for those responsible for atrocities.

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