The agency confirmed that no food trucks have been allowed into the region for two weeks.
They told CNN in a statement that 100 trucks need to arrive every day in order to address the “vast humanitarian needs in the region,” and that the shortfall has left “400,000 people on the verge of famine.”
David Beasley, the WFP’s executive director, initially warned earlier this week that 170 trucks filled with food and resources for Tigray had been stuck in Afar and barred from leaving. “These trucks must be allowed to move NOW. People are starving,” he tweeted Tuesday.
Last week, the deputy spokesperson for the UN Secretary General said the roads between Afar and Tigray via Semera city “remain blocked due to security reasons,” preventing humanitarian personnel, food stocks, fuel and other humanitarian goods from entering.
Thousands of people have died in the Tigray conflict so far, with about 2 million people being forced to flee their homes and more than 5 million relying on emergency food aid.
And the situation is worsening as fighting continues. UNICEF estimated on Friday that more than 100,000 children in Tigray could suffer from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition in the next year, a tenfold increase compared to the average annual figure.
“Our worst fears about the health and wellbeing of children in that conflicted region of northern Ethiopia are being confirmed,” UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado said, adding that the aid organization made the calculations after reaching areas of Tigray that were previously inaccessible due to insecurity.
“This malnutrition crisis is taking place amid extensive, systematic damage to the food, health, nutrition, water and sanitation systems and services that children and their families depend on for their survival,” Mercado said. “Reversing the nutrition, health, water and food security catastrophe requires a massive scale-up of humanitarian assistance.”