USAID suspends aid to Ethiopia over food diversions

By Laureen Fagan - 8 June 2023 at 11:16 pm
USAID suspends aid to Ethiopia over food diversions

The United States recently announced $416 million in new USAID funding for the Horn of Africa, much of which is destined for humanitarian aid in Ethiopia. But as of Thursday, that aid has been cut off due to what USAID and the Ethiopian government called “deeply concerning revelations of food aid diversion in Ethiopia.”

The announcement follows reports that USAID resources destined for the Tigray conflict zone and other regions were being sold or otherwise sent to unauthorized destinations as part of food aid theft operations by corrupt officials. A statement from the two governments said they “are conducting investigations so that the perpetrators of such diversion are held to account.”

The decision comes as the Horn of Africa nations of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia face the most severe drought ever recorded, USAID said. The U.S. decision follows a moratorium on aid already placed in Tigray, where the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) also suspended food aid last month.

“WFP has paused food distributions in Tigray, which will not resume until WFP can ensure that vital aid will reach its intended recipients,” the UN organization said.

USAID noted that conflicts in Ethiopia have “generated displacement, exacerbated humanitarian needs, and impeded humanitarian access since 2018.” It was common during armed conflict in the Tigray region for international humanitarian aid work to be suspended or disrupted.

Some 20.1 million people are targeted for USAID food aid in Ethiopia, according to a May 26 assessment.

Image: USAID

Laureen Fagan

Laureen Fagan

Laureen is the editor of Africa Times

Laureen is a freelance journalist creating high-quality, informed content on international affairs, politics and technology. She has worked both in and out of newsrooms since 2000. She is a former paramedic with significant experience in community resilience and nonprofit community development initiatives, and maintains "a passion for action" on sustainability and climate change. She also is trained in conflict resolution and diversity, and has special interests in science and medical reporting, and culture and religion issues. Laureen received her MSJ from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in the United States, and completed additional graduate study in theology at University of Notre Dame. Follow Laureen on Mastodon at

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