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01-06-2021 | Edited News

UNOG Bi-weekly press briefing: Tigray Update - WFP 1 June 2021

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  1. Exterior wide shot, Palais des Nations flag alley, nations’ flags flying, a sunny day. 
  2. Wide shot, podium with speakers in a near-empty Room XIV in line with COVID-19 distancing measures, Palais des Nations. 
  3. SOUNDBITE (English) —Tomson Phiri, spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP): “A total of 5,2 million people, equivalent to 91 % of Tigray’s population, need emergency food assistance due to the conflict”.
  4. Tomson Phiri reading papers, Room XIV, Palais des Nations. 
  5. SOUNDBITE (English) —Tomson Phiri, spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP): “We are deeply concerned at the number of people we see in need of nutrition support and emergency food assistance”. 
  6. Close up, Tomson Phiri speaking
  7. SOUNDBITE (English) —Tomson Phiri, spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP): “Conflict has indeed interrupted or delayed some food distributions. WFP is working closely with partners, with local leaders, and communities to improve access and deliver the life-saving food and nutrition support to end growing hunger in Tigray”.
  8. Medium shot, attendees sitting with listening devices in Room XIV, Palais des Nations. 
  9. SOUNDBITE (English) —Tomson Phiri, spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP): “Insecurity is challenging the ability of most emergency responders to reach people who are in need. A ceasefire and unimpeded access are vital not only for WFP but also for all its partners in Tigray to reach all areas and all people who are desperately in need of life-saving support”.
  10. Close up, Tomson Phiri speaking. 
  11. SOUNDBITE (English) —Tomson Phiri, spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP): “Access especially in rural areas remains the primary challenge. The WFP has delivered 315 emergency nutrition rations to children and women since February in 31 districts. In May, WFP reached almost 100, 000 children and pregnant or nursing women in all zones except for western”.
  12. Medium wide shot, TV broadcasting in foreground and podium to rear, Room XIV, Palais des Nations 
  13. SOUNDBITE (English) —Tomson Phiri, spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP): “According to the nutrition cluster, which is a grouping of agencies who are working in nutrition, almost half of the pregnant or nursing mothers in 53 villages were either moderately or acutely malnourished. Almost a quarter of all children who were screened were found to be malnourished”.
  14. Medium shot, Tomson Phiri reading papers, Room XIV, Palais des Nations. 
  15. Medium shot, journalist in Room XIV, Palais des Nations. 
  16. Medium shot, spokespersons in Room XIV, Palais des Nations. 

More than 90 % of Tigray’s population in need of emergency food assistance due to the conflict, says UN World Food Programme 

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has provided emergency food assistance to over 1 million people since it started its distribution in March in north-western and Southern zones of Tigray region, Ethiopia’s troubled north.

A total of 5,2 million people, equivalent to 91 % of Tigray’s population, need emergency food assistance due to the conflict”, WFP’s spokesperson Tomson Phiri today told reporters at the United Nations in Geneva. He added that “we are deeply concerned at the number of people we see in need of nutrition support and emergency food assistance”. 

 Fighting started in November 2020 when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray to disarm leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the region’s former ruling party in response to TPLF attacks on federal army camps. More than six months later, the armed conflict continues. Aid agencies warn of a potential humanitarian catastrophe.

Conflict has indeed interrupted or delayed some food distributions”, said WFP’s Tomson Phiri. “WFP is working closely with partners, with local leaders, and communities to improve access and deliver the life-saving food and nutrition support to end growing hunger in Tigray”.

This week, WFP kicked off a second six-week round of emergency food assistance, starting in Korem and Ofla, two of the five new districts in Southern zone recently added to WFP’s operational areas.

Insecurity is challenging the ability of most emergency responders to reach people who are in need”, Phiri said. “A ceasefire and unimpeded access are vital not only for WFP but also for all its partners in Tigray to reach all areas and all people who are desperately in need of life-saving support”.

Much of Tigray still remains inaccessible to humanitarian workers. According to Tomson Phiri “access especially in rural areas remains the primary challenge. The WFP has delivered 315 emergency nutrition rations to children and women since February in 31 districts. In May, WFP reached almost 100, 000 children and pregnant or nursing women in all zones except for western”.

UNICEF said today that “the magnitude and gravity of child rights violations taking place across Tigray show no sign of abating, nearly seven months since fighting broke out in northern Ethiopia”. According to UNICEF, over 6,000 unaccompanied or separated children have so far been identified and registered for protection and assistance. Women and girls are still being subjected to appalling acts of sexual violence.

With the ongoing insecurity, WFP is seeing rising levels of malnourished women and children. According to the nutrition cluster, which is a grouping of agencies who are working in nutrition, almost half of the pregnant or nursing mothers in 53 villages were either moderately or acutely malnourished”, Phiri said. “Almost a quarter of all children who were screened were found to be malnourished”.

The WFP has appealed for $203 million to continue to step up its response in Tigray to save lives through to the end of the year.

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Tigray Update - WFP 1 June 2021 / 2:29

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