December 9, 2022

US aid chief Samantha Power rings alarm bell over humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, blames Abiy’s government for “obstructing” aid and personnel

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power

The U.S. aid chief Samantha Power on Thursday night raised a red alert about the devastating humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, warning that many people may go hungry, not because of a lack of food, “but because the Ethiopian Government is obstructing humanitarian aid and personnel, including land convoys and air access.”

In a lengthy statement received by Today News Africa in Washington DC, Power, who is the Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), said, “food warehouses are virtually empty” in Tigray.

She wrote, “In Tigray, where hundreds of thousands are facing famine, food warehouses are virtually empty. This week, for the first time in nine months of conflict, aid workers will run out of food to distribute to the millions of people who are going hungry. USAID and its partners as well as other humanitarian organizations have depleted their stores of food items warehoused in Tigray. 

“Despite the small trickle of convoys into Tigray and an average of two UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flights per week to Mekele during the first half of August, the flow of humanitarian assistance remains woefully insufficient. This shortage is not because food is unavailable, but because the Ethiopian Government is obstructing humanitarian aid and personnel, including land convoys and air access. The U.S. calls on the Ethiopian Government to immediately allow humanitarian assistance to swiftly move into Tigray in order to prevent a catastrophic stop to food assistance that millions need to survive.

“Humanitarian organizations have food loaded onto trucks, and they are waiting in Semera, Afar, and other places in Ethiopia, but for the last month and a half only a small trickle of aid convoys has been allowed into Tigray. To meet the vast humanitarian needs in Tigray, 100 trucks carrying tons of food and life-saving supplies need to arrive each day, which should have meant a total of 5,000 trucks since July 1. However, as of a few days ago, only around 320 had arrived—less than 7 percent of what is required. While the Government of Ethiopia has been quick to hail the limited aid as a positive step, it is far too little and far too late. People in Tigray are starving with up to 900,000 in famine conditions and more than five million in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.  

“Humanitarian workers continue to face entirely too many hurdles to make aid convoys happen. They have encountered unacceptable delays at multiple checkpoints, some of which take hours to clear, as well as repeated intensive searches. Aid workers are harassed, and we have seen an increase in troubling and harmful rhetoric coming from the Ethiopian Government against humanitarians. Instead, we need to see action from the Government of Ethiopia that will enable humanitarians to do their jobs and save lives. Fuel deliveries, electricity, telecommunications, and banking services must all be immediately restored and maintained, and humanitarians and relief supplies need to be allowed to move quickly, regularly, and unimpeded into Tigray. In addition, restrictions on aid organizations bringing cash and telecommunications equipment into Tigray need to be lifted in order to facilitate the delivery of lifesaving assistance. 

“The TPLF’s offensive into other regions will only prolong this conflict and the suffering of the Ethiopian people.  The United States urges the TPLF to halt its offensive and withdraw its forces immediately from the Amhara and Afar regions, the Amhara regional government to withdraw its forces from western Tigray, and the Eritrean government to withdraw its forces immediately and permanently from Ethiopia. 

“The United States remains committed to the welfare of all Ethiopians. All parties must allow humanitarian aid to reach the people whose survival depends on it, and they must end hostilities and commit to a negotiated ceasefire.” 

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ferenjtel
ferenjtel
1 year ago

Why do you present slanted nws to the world – so-called liberal media. Why? Why? It is the tplf which has invaded parts of Afar and Amhara regions and is causing humanitarian nightmare there. Why don,t you at least mention this intransigence also? Is one human life more precious than another? We are having enough of western liberal lies!

Tadesse Hailemariam
Tadesse Hailemariam
1 year ago

We Ethiopians well know that US is dependable ally of Ethiopia. Now days, the stand of US Government but not the people, is against Ethiopia and the Ethiopians. We are closer to our Tigriyan brothers and sisters than US Government if you leave us alone. The TPLF Junta, who sucked the blood of each Ethiopian including the Tigray people where he kept on subsistence life using the so called safety net for the last 30 years, is our enemy. The partisan approach of US Government is unacceptable not only by the Government but also by the people of Ethiopia. Please don’t gamble on the lives of Africans. Black life matters. I think US Government was on this planet, while one million Rwandese were slaughtered in less than a month time. It is very painful for us but a joke for you people taking serious care for pet rather than the colored people. Once again we demand you to leave us alone and take your hands off.

Weyni
Weyni
1 year ago

All this drama is to have the Sudanese Corridor open for them to pour arms into TPLF territory. They paly by the very book they authored in the late 80’s and early 90’s when they were fighting the then Ethiopian Government and supported TPLF and other non-state actors in the region. They even established a huge communication tower for TPLF just inside the Sudanese boarder and Sudanese generals were managing the war in Ethiopia. They still want the open boarder with Sudan. Even if Power barks loud and strong, they will never ever get this granted. If at all aid has stopped from reaching the needy Tigreans, it is only because Power and her TPLF associates are orchestrating the trouble. STOP FINANCING AND FEEDING TERRORIST TPLF!

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