China donates 4,000 metric tonnes of maize to WFP's operations in Ethiopia
The Chinese government on Wednesday donated much-needed humanitarian assistance in support of the United Nations World Food Program's (WFP) operations in the East African country.
The donation, comprising 4,000 metric tonnes of maize, is said to cover food ration for about 268,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Ethiopia's drought-prone Somali regional state, it was noted.
Paul Turnbull, Deputy Country Director of WFP to Ethiopia, said as the Somali region is where most of WFP's responsibilities for relief operations lay, "it's very, very important that we maintain our contributions into the Somali region."
Noting that the food distribution in the region has just started in the first week of February, Turnbull commended China's support to the WFP's humanitarian operations in the country.
"I would like to thank China for the interest in WFP's activities in Ethiopia. This has been received over a few years," he said, adding that "we would like to thank you for this recent contribution as well as the contribution that's being distributed at the moment."
According to figures from the WFP, over the past five years, China's contribution to the WFP has enabled the purchase of about 13,000 metric tonnes of food in Ethiopia.
Zhao Zhiyuan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, said that the Chinese government has donated about 16 million U.S. dollars to the WFP's Ethiopia operations since 2015, including the latest 2 million U.S. dollars food assistance program.
"As the Chinese saying goes - when disaster strikes, help comes from all sides. WFP Ethiopia has done a lot to resolve food shortage for the stressed population," Zhao said.
He also emphasized that China is Ethiopia's major development partner as well as a firm supporter of WFP's operations.
"China will continue its good working relations with WFP and other international organizations, and the Ethiopian government to promote long-term development of Ethiopia and improve people's lives," the ambassador added.
The latest donation by the Chinese government is said to have come at a critical time as the WFP faces a funding shortfall, and urgently requires about 325 million U.S. dollars to maintain operations in Ethiopia from March to August 2021.
Tadesse Bekele Fanta, Senior Disaster Risk Management Advisor at the Ethiopian National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), also hailed China's humanitarian support to the Ethiopian people.
"The People's Republic of China has been very supportive to the people of Ethiopia in terms of addressing the humanitarian caseload," Fanta said.
According to Fanta, Ethiopia is presently "in a very critical situation," in which about 12 million people are at a higher risk of possible need of humanitarian support.
Conflict, drought and seasonal floods have contributed to internal displacement in Ethiopia's Southeastern Somali regional state and elsewhere. The WFP provides food to about 1.1 million IDPs across the country. Enditem