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Statement by Executive Director of WFP on seizure of humanitarian fuel supplies in Tigray

ROME – It is reprehensible that millions of people will be pushed further into hunger by the resumption of fighting in Northern Ethiopia. In the past few months, the humanitarian truce has allowed WFP and our partners to reach almost 5 million people in Tigray. However, yesterday that lifeline was severed.

On Wednesday morning, a group of armed men entered WFP’s compound in Mekelle and forcibly seized 12 tankers filled with over half a million litres of fuel.  This fuel had recently been purchased by WFP and arrived just days before it was stolen.

Without it, it is impossible for WFP to distribute food, fertilizer, medicines and other emergency supplies across Tigray.  It also prevents us from powering generators and vehicles, so that WFP and humanitarian partners can meet the needs of the vulnerable populations of Tigray, where an estimated 5.2 million people face severe hunger.  The loss of this fuel will push communities in Tigray, already struggling with the impacts of the conflict, further towards the brink of starvation.

We demand the Tigrayan Authorities return these fuel stocks to the humanitarian community immediately.  As the next harvest is not until October, our deliveries of life-saving food could not be more urgent or critical to the survival of millions.

We are working around the clock to get assistance to those most in need, but we need fuel, funding, and full movement of supplies across the lines of control to maximise deliveries across Northern Ethiopia.

(Statement attributable to David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme)

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

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Ethiopia Executive Director Emergencies Conflicts


For more information please contact (email address:

Martin Penner, WFP/ Rome,
Mob. +39 345 614 2074

Tomson Phiri, WFP/ Geneva,
Mob. +41 79 842 8057

Nina Valente, WFP/ London,
Mob. +44 (0)796 8008 474

Martin Rentsch, WFP/Berlin,
Mob +49 160 99 26 17 30

Shaza Moghraby, WFP/New York,
Mob. + 1 929 289 9867

Steve Taravella, WFP/ Washington,
Mob.  +1 202 770 5993