Ethiopia: Massive Fuel Theft Puts World Food Programme (WFP) Operations in Tigray at Risk

Armed men entered the WFP compound in the regional capital, Mekelle, on Wednesday and seized 12 tankers filled with fuel, which had recently been purchased
The robbery of over half a million tonnes of fuel from the World Food Programme (WFP) in Ethiopia’s Tigray region will make it impossible to continue operations that support millions of hungry people, the UN agency said on Thursday.Armed men entered theWFPcompound in the regional capital, Mekelle, on Wednesday and seized12 tankers filled with fuel, which had recently been purchased. The supply had only arrived a few days earlier.David Beasley, the WFP Executive Director, issueda statementcondemning the theft, which occurred as fighting has resumed between Ethiopian forces and separatists following a five-month humanitarian truce.Closer to starvationIt now will be impossible for WFP to distribute food, fertilizer, medicines and other emergency supplies across Tigray, wherean estimated 5.2 million peopleface 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,” said Mr. Beasley.WFP also will be prevented from powering generators and vehicles, critical for staff and humanitarian partners supporting vulnerable populations.
WFP convoy trucks delivering food and nutrition supplies to Adi Harush, Mai Aini, Mekelle and Shire in Tigray, Ethiopia. Image source: WFP Ethiopia

“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,” said Mr. Beasley.WFP are working around the clock to get assistance to those most in need, he added, “but we need fuel, funding, and full movement of suppliesacross the lines of control to maximise deliveries across Northern Ethiopia.”*Source UN News

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