Washington announces resumption of food aid to Ethiopia

U.S. deliveries of food aid to Ethiopia will resume throughout the country, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced on Tuesday, following the conclusion of an agreement to monitor aid distribution.
USAID announced the resumption of deliveries from next month, for an initial period of one year during which the agency will monitor whether the Ethiopian state keeps its commitments, against a backdrop of accusations of aid detour to benefit soldiers.
“These far-reaching and significant reforms will profoundly change the food aid system in Ethiopia and ensure that aid reaches those who are acutely food insecure,” USAID spokeswoman Jessica Jennings said in a statement.
In early October, the US agency had already announced a limited resumption of food aid deliveries to meet the needs of thousands of refugees in Africa’s second most populous country. The resumption was to concern some thirty camps in Ethiopia, which hosts nearly a million refugees, mainly from South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) made a similar announcement a few days later.
Ethiopia is plagued by serious internal violence, a deteriorating economic situation and chronic natural disasters. Some 17% of Ethiopia’s 120 million inhabitants depend on international food aid.
But last June, the UN and the United States suspended the distribution of food aid across the country due to “widespread and coordinated” detour. In May, they had already done the same for the northern region of Tigray, ravaged by two years of war, before extending the suspension to the whole country.
In early October, the WFP stated that it had resumed aid deliveries “following a complete reorganization of safeguards and controls” on refugee operations.