“Combination of Conflict and Drought Causes Soaring Inflation”, World Food Program (WFP) addednoting that as of April, the Ethiopian food price index was 43 per cent higher compared to the same month last year.

Meanwhile, prices for vegetable oil and cereals rose more than 89 percent and 37 percent year on year.

War and famine

During the 19 months of the war, more than 13 million people in the north are in need of humanitarian food assistance, according to WFP, mainly in the conflict zones in the regions of Afar, Amhara and Tigray..

Over the past two months, since the government announced a humanitarian truce, food and humanitarian aid have been flowing into the Tigray region.

And while WFP has delivered more than 100,000 tons of food since April 1—enough to feed 5.9 million people for a month—fuel deliveries are lagging behind.

Less than half of the two million liters of fuel needed have arrived in the region in recent weeks.

WFP has finally been able to meet the food needs of more than 800,000 people in Tigray and has just completed its latest delivery of food rations to 1.3 million people in Afar and Amhara.

Doubtful health

In Tigray, more than 20 percent of children under the age of five and half of pregnant and lactating women are malnourished.according to WFP.

Meanwhile, 32 percent of parents in Afar Zone 4—one of five administrative zones in the region—and 16 percent in Amhara reported that malnutrition had brought their children under five years of age to a health center in the previous three months.

This is also confirmed by WFP’s recent assessment of conflict-affected areas in both regions.

And in southern and southeastern Ethiopia, about 7.4 million people wake up hungry every day as the country struggles with a fourth consecutive bad rainy season.

Ukraine aggravates the food crisis

In the same time, ripple effect of war in Ukraine will exacerbate Ethiopia’s food security crisis.

With more than three-quarters of WFP’s production and state-owned wheat – the country’s staple food – coming from Ukraine or Russia, the country’s precarious situation threatens to make its cost, as well as the cost of fertilizer, unsustainable for millions of Ethiopian farmers.

Humanitarian operations may be stopped

Moreover, WFP’s acute funding shortfall prompted the UN food aid agency to warn against a looming malnutrition crisis.

Its funding to treat more than 1.4 million severely malnourished women and children in northern Ethiopia is running out fast.

To date, severe funding shortfalls have allowed WFP operations to provide therapeutic nutrition to only 40 percent of mothers and children affected in northern Ethiopia between January and April. This means only 560,000 of the planned 1.4 million.

And the gap has forced ration cuts for more than 700,000 refugees, who now receive only 50 percent of their minimum nutritional requirements.

WFP aims to reach over 11 million of the most vulnerable over the next six months, but is struggling with a staggering $470 million funding gap.

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