Food Aid Suspension in Ethiopia Unacceptable “morally, ethically”: Christian Leaders

Caritas Ethiopia distributes food items to victims of Tigray war. Credit: CBCE

Christian leaders in Ethiopia have expressed concern about the suspension of food aid to the Horn of Africa nation, and termed the move as “morally and ethically” unacceptable.

In a statement ACI Africa obtained on Tuesday, June 20, officials of the Joint Resilience Partnership (JRP), who include representatives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) say the suspension “will strongly affect” the approximately 20.1 million people who are “in dire need of food assistance”.

On June 9, the  World  Food Programme (WFP) announced it was suspending food aid to Ethiopia because the “donations were being diverted from people in need.” The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) had made a similar announcement a day earlier.

In their statement dated Monday, June 19, JRP officials say, “As local Church faith organizations we are very much concerned about the suspension of the humanitarian aid by USAID due to the allegation of the misuse and diversion of international aid.”

“We condemn this act of taking away food from the hungry which is not morally and ethically acceptable,” the Christian leaders in Ethiopia, who include representatives of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY), say.


In their statement that was signed by the President of CBCE Berhaneyesus Cardinal Souraphiel, and his EECMY counterpart, Kes Yonds Yigezu, JRP officials identify children and the elderly among those who would suffer the most from a delayed suspension of food aid. 

“The effect of delay in taking appropriate action to resume the food support will strongly affect the poor and the needy people that may lead to further catastrophe on the children, elderly, and vulnerable people,” they say. 

The Christian leaders call for “a timely and appropriate investigation into the allegations that led to the suspension of the Humanitarian Aid to the country.”

They also urge the Federal Government and the USAID “to speed up the negotiation, put appropriate measures in place to resume the humanitarian aid delivery to the affected communities.”

JRP officials say they “recognize and appreciate the government of Ethiopia, USAID, UN agencies and other actors for their unreserved food and non-food items support and assistance to the people of Ethiopia for the last many years.”

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“We feel the appropriateness of action and systems improvement that bring transparency, accountability of the resources, build trust and confidence among partners and donors,” JRP officials further say.

Ethiopia's northernmost region of Tigray has been hit hard by civil conflict involving ethno-regional militias, the federal government, and the Eritrean military since November 2020.

While the devastating two-year conflict reportedly ended in November 2022, millions of people were left relying on humanitarian aid.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.