U.S. humanitarian assistance is a vital lifeline for millions of people in need around the world facing drought, food insecurity, conflict, and violence. We place the highest priority on ensuring we and our partners use funds wisely, effectively, and for their intended purpose.
In Ethiopia, USAID has made the decision to resume food assistance to refugee populations after the Ethiopian government and implementing partners made reforms to Ethiopia’s refugee food assistance structure.
The resumption of food assistance to refugees will save lives and alleviate suffering for some of the most vulnerable. Reforms put in place strengthen program monitoring and oversight, reinforce commodity tracking, and improve beneficiary registration processes. In addition, the Ethiopian government has transferred responsibility for dispatch, warehousing, and distribution of refugee food aid to our implementing partners.
USAID previously paused all food assistance in Ethiopia following the identification of a coordinated diversion scheme. While we are resuming assistance for refugee populations, our assistance for other food insecure populations across Ethiopia remains paused until we have assurance it will reach its intended beneficiaries. We continue to work with the Ethiopian government on additional reforms that will help ensure that assistance is provided based on assessed vulnerability and need – consistent with international best practice.
USAID’s priority is to resume food assistance for those in need as soon as possible in all regions, and we stand ready to do so as soon as necessary remaining reforms are implemented. Other forms of ongoing U.S. assistance, including health and nutrition, continued during the food aid pause. The United States stands with the people of Ethiopia.
Diversion of U.S. assistance is unacceptable. USAID is implementing a comprehensive plan to mitigate the risk of diversions around the world. We appointed a new agency coordinator to work with our missions and teams in Washington on the implementation of strengthened oversight initiatives. We also stood up a working group of experts who are reviewing field staffing levels and third-party monitoring work across programs, developing new guidance for staff and partners, creating new training for staff across the globe, and examining additional measures. We are engaging our partners on how we can support their efforts to improve program oversight and accountability. These improved oversight mechanisms will allow us to more quickly identify and address risks of diversion and help ensure food assistance gets to those who need it most.