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Week after ‘unilateral truce’, Ethiopia’s Tigray region receives UN food aids

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Following the declaration of a unilateral truce by the Ethiopian government last week, a convoy of trucks carrying food aid has entered territory controlled by fighters loyal to the fugitive leaders of Ethiopia’s Tigray region on Friday.

The truck is the first humanitarian convoy to move into the Tigray region since Dec. 14, the United Nations World Food Programme said.

The U.N. estimates that 90% of Tigray’s 6 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. It says 100 trucks must enter every day to feed people there.

“WFP-led convoys to Tigray are back on the road & making steady progress,” the agency said on Twitter. It added that the trucks “arrived in Erepti” carrying over 500 metric tons of food supplies “for communities on edge of starvation.” The UN World Food Programme concludes.

The Tigray Region is the northernmost regional state of Ethiopia. The Region is the homeland of the Tigrayan, Irob, and Kunama people. Formerly known as Region 1, its capital and largest city are Mekelle. Tigray is the fifth-largest by area, the fifth-most populous, and the fifth-most densely populated of the 11 regional states in Ethiopia. 96 percent of Tigrayans are Orthodox Christian.

Erepti is a district in the neighboring state of Afar, into which the war has spilled in recent months. Fighters loyal to the outlawed party of Tigray’s leaders — the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF — are present in six districts in Afar, having entered the region in December.

The spokesperson of the TPLF, Getachew Reda, confirmed on Twitter that 20 WFP trucks had crossed into territory controlled by their fighters and are now on their way to Mekele, the Tigray capital. The Tigray fighters had said they would observe the humanitarian truce declared by the government if aid started to reach Tigray.

“This is one good step in the right direction,” Getachew added. “The bottom line, though, isn’t about how many trucks are allowed but whether there is a system in place to ensure unfettered humanitarian access for the needy!”

Metro

Zambia ranks 8th in Africa for highest food inflation

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Zambia has been ranked as the eighth African country with the highest food inflation as of May 2024, with a rate of 16.2 percent.

The ranking which was made by the World Bank in its latest Food Security Update report for June 2024, however, revealed that the country’s food inflation rate had decreased to 15.2 percent.

The World Bank’s Food Security Update placed Zambia behind Malawi and Nigeria, which jointly lead the continent with food inflation rates of 40.7 percent.

“Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (particularly its eastern provinces), Myanmar, the Syrian Arab Republic, and Yemen are also identified as hotspots of very high concern,” the report said.

“These regions face significant levels of acute food insecurity exacerbated by worsening factors such as conflict, displacement, and economic instability.

“Recent additions to the list include the Central African Republic, Lebanon, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Zambia, while Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Malawi, Somalia, and Zimbabwe continue to face acute hunger,” the report highlighted.

According to the report, domestic food price inflation remains high, with data from the latest month between February and May 2024 showing high inflation in many low-and middle-income countries.

It added that Zambia’s inflation was higher than five percent in 59.1 percent of low-income countries, 63.0 percent of lower-middle-income countries, 36.0 percent of upper-middle-income countries and 10.9 percent of high-income countries.

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Nigerians thrown into mourning as 22 die, 150 injured in school building collapse

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Nigerians have been thrown into mourning following the death of 22 victims including young school children and their teachers after a classroom building collapsed on Friday in the city of Jos, Plateau State, in North-Central Nigeria.

The tragic incident, which occurred after a two-storey school building caved in at Saints Academy, a secondary school in the Busa-Buji neighbourhood of Jos North Local Government Area of the state, also injured over 150 people who were lucky to be rescued.

According to eyewitnesses, the building collapsed on around 8:30 am when many of the students and teachers were already in classes writing their end of term examinations.

The State Government, in a statement confirming the tragedy, confirmed 22 deaths and 150 injured persons from the Jos collapsed school building.

In the statement, Commissioner for Information, Mr. Musa Ashoms, the Commissioner for Information, said six of the injured were in critical condition while those injured were receiving treatment in various tertiary health facilities in the state, just as the bodies of the deceased had been deposited in the mortuaries.

The State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, in a statewide broadcast, described the incident as a tragic and a monumental loss to the state.

The Governor, while sympathizing with the families of the affected victims, stated that the incident was heart-wrenching and unfortunate.

“This is tragic, unfortunate, heart-wrenching and a gloomy situation,” he said.

“We appreciate the timely intervention of the search and rescue team, as well as members of the public, who rushed to the school premises to assist in evacuating some of the surviving students and staff.

“I have directed the relevant government agencies, including the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and Plateau State Emergency Management Agency, to provide necessary support to survivors.

“Words cannot fully comfort the grieving families over their immense loss, so we pray that God will continue to console and uphold them during this difficult period,” Mutfwang said.

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