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WFP Geneva Palais Briefing Note: Humanitarian Operations in northern Ethiopia

This is a summary of what was said by WFP Spokesperson Tomson Phiri – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Geneva – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) calls on all parties to the conflict in northern Ethiopia to respect humanitarian operations and assets and allow unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief to civilians in need.

Last week, WFP was granted access to humanitarian warehouses in Kombolcha, Amhara region. Initial assessments revealed damaged equipment, vandalized storage units, and substantial amounts of food looted from the facilities. The loss of this food means fewer people in need can be reached by WFP and its partners.

Despite this setback, WFP, in partnership with the Joint Emergency Operation (JEOP), is pushing ahead with operations and will today begin a major food assistance operation to serve more than 450,000 people over the next two weeks in the northern Ethiopian towns of Kombolcha and Dessie.

To date, WFP has delivered emergency food and nutrition assistance to 2.9 million people in Tigray, 124,000 people in Afar and 220,000 people in Amhara. This has been achieved in the face of active fighting which closed the main corridors into Tigray and Amhara, substantially cutting access.

For WFP to scale-up the delivery of food assistance to save 3.7 million lives in Northern Ethiopia, all parties must cooperate to facilitate movement of supplies across battle lines and allow access to affected populations, wherever and whenever needed.

The conflict, and an unprecedented funding gap, are making humanitarian food assistance to millions of Ethiopians across the country uncertain. WFP’s Northern Ethiopia response urgently requires US$279 million to meet needs over the next six months. Across the entire country, WFP has an unprecedented funding gap of US$546 million to save and change the lives of 12 million people over the next six months.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are 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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For more information please contact (email address:

In Geneva: Tomson Phiri,
Mob. +41 79 842 8057

In Addis Ababa: Claire Nevill,
Mob. +251 094 433 4949

In Nairobi: Gordon Weiss,
Mob. +254 707 722 104