March 15 (UPI) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday announced a $331 million assistance package for Ethiopia, nearly doubling the U.S. contribution to the war-torn nation.
The assistance package will be devoted to funding “life-saving support” for people affected by the civil war, drought and food insecurity, according to the State Department.
Ethiopia’s Tigray War pitted the federal government and Eritrea — Ethiopia’s neighbor to the east — against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front for two years before both sides came to an agreement to cease hostilities in November. Battles were in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of citizens there.
Leading up to the agreement between the government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the United Nations highlighted the great need for humanitarian assistance in the Tigray region. The World Health Organization reported an 80% year-over-year increase of malaria infections, which spread unchecked because of many healthcare facilities being closed amid the war. WHO also reported that as many as 19% of children, many of whom were displaced, experience food insecurity in the region.
Altaf Musani, director of the Health Emergencies Interventions, said about 65% of children did not receive nutritional support for more than a year, the U.N. reports.
With the newly announced humanitarian aid, the United States’ total assistance to Ethiopia is $780 million for fiscal year 2023 — the most provided by any country to Ethiopia, the State Department said. Since 2020, the United States has contributed about $3.16 billion in aid to Ethiopia.