- East Africa
Ethiopia blocks food supply as millions go hungry
WFP concerned about the move
The government of Ethiopia has put a restriction on trucks with food supplies and prioritized trucks of fertilizers into the country as nine million Ethiopians face hunger and three months of starvation.
The Ethiopian authorities claim to be ensuring better harvest by September, but the United Nations has warned that by the end of June, it would have run out of food supply for the dependent millions in Ethiopian.
There will be no further deliveries until September or October, claims the UN World Food Program (WFP). Children, refugees and breast-feeding mothers will be among those worst hit during the hunger season in Ethiopia.
The hunger season is expected to last until September when harvest begins.
The Ethiopian government has prioritized the delivery of fertilizer, to try to increase the next harvest rather than allow more trucks of food and grains to the country.
According to WFP, there is an acute shortage of trucks, yet the Ethiopian authorities have prevented them (the agency) from bringing in its own fleet from Sudan.
UN World Food Program says it has no option but to cut back on the food they provide, which has already been cut by a third since July 2008.
Currently there is little prospect of food supplies arriving at the port of Djibouti for the next five months. "We have a small refugee population here and their ration is being cut by half beginning this month. We run out of food and people will be very hungry," claims Barry Came of the World Food Program.
The UN can only supply food through the port of Djibouti because Eritrea denied land-locked Ethiopia access to its ports, following a border war.