Home » News »

U.N. Food Agency Suspends Aid to Southern Somalia

The UN food agency is pulling out of southern Somalia because of attacks on its staff and demands from armed militants that women be removed from the group.

The agency announced the pullout on Tuesday.

The World Food Program is moving its staff and supplies to northern and central Somalia, ending food distribution in six areas of the country’s south that are mainly controlled by the al-Shabab Islamist group.

“Up to a million people that have been dependent on food assistance in southern Somalia face a situation that is particularly dire,” WFP spokesperson Emilia Casella said in Geneva.

“It’s up [to] the armed groups who control that area to provide the assurances that our staff will be safe and that humanitarian principles will be maintained,” Casella said.

“We are hoping we can return, so we consider it a temporary situation.”

At least four WFP staff have been killed over the past 18 months.

About three million people depend on food aid in Somalia, which has been hit by drought. The country only produces about one-third of the food it needs.

A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner on Refugees, which is working in neighbouring Kenya, is monitoring the situation amid worries the WFP pullout could lead refugees to leave southern Somalia in favour of other parts of the country or bordering nations.

Source: CBC.CA

U.N. Food Agency Suspends Aid to Southern Somalia
Published: January 5, 2010 (nytimes)
LONDON — The United Nations World Food Program said Tuesday it was suspending aid deliveries to a million people in southern Somalia because of “rising threats and attacks on humanitarian operations, as well as the imposition of a string of unacceptable demands from armed groups.”

In a statement on its Web site, the organization said perilous conditions for its staff had made it “virtually impossible” to reach people in need in the region, including many women and children.

Somalia has been without an effective central government for almost two decades, caught in a swirl of bloody contests between armed groups. A radical Islamist group called the Shabab and allied insurgent groups control most of the country, while the writ of the weak transitional government is limited to a small enclave in Mogadishu, the capital, under the protection of African Union peacekeeping troops.

The Obama administration says the Shabab has links to Al Qaeda.

According to The Associated Press, the World Food Program said many of the areas affected by the suspension of food aid were controlled by Shabab militants. Emilia Casella, a spokeswoman for the World Food Program, said armed groups had demanded that the food agency remove women from all posts and pay protection to guarantee the safety of aid workers.

In its statement, the World Food Program said it was “continuing to provide life-saving food distribution in the rest of the country, including the capital, Mogadishu, reaching more than two-thirds of the hungry it has been targeting — or 1.8 million people.”

The food agency said that in the past five years, Somalia had produced only 30 percent of its food requirements.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/

Faafin: SomaliTalk.com // Halkudheg:

. Afeef: Aragtida maqaallada iyo faallooyinka waa kuwo u gaar ah qorayaasha ku saxiixan. E-mail Link Xiriiriye weeyey

comment closed after 30 days / Jawaabaha waa la xiray ama waa la joojiyay wixii ka badan 30 cisho.