Jun 12, 2023
The US government and the United Nations (UN) have stopped giving food aid to Ethiopia. This happened because there were reports that officials were taking the food. They then used the food to feed soldiers or sold it to other countries.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) made its decision on Thursday. The UN’s World Food Program (WFP) also stopped giving food aid on Friday.
A USAID spokesperson told The Guardian it was a difficult decision. However, they didn't think they could keep sending aid, "until reforms are in place."
The agencies did not say who stole the food. But a memo by foreign donors said top Ethiopian officials were involved.
Twenty million Ethiopians need this aid. That’s partly because of war. It’s also due to a long drought. USAID and WFP had stopped giving aid before to the province of Tigray in the north. This area is run by rebel forces. Aid in the north was being stolen too. Aid groups say rebel soldiers were also getting stolen food.
The government and rebels made a peace deal in late 2022. But human rights groups say there is still violence there.
The government of Ethiopia promised to look into the issue and hold the people who stole the food accountable. People who are waiting for help hope that the investigation is fast and that the donations start again.
Yibrah Yemane Tesfay told The Washington Post that it was a matter of life or death. He has only gotten one supply of wheat for his family since November. He said, “We feel as if they sentenced us to death.”
Reflect: Do you think wealthier nations have a responsibility to help those who are in need? Explain.
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