UN steps up food distributions to drought-hit Somali capital

9 March 2011

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners this week began an emergency distribution of food aid to an additional 50,000 people in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, in response to the severe shortages caused by the prevailing drought.

“WFP and its partners are doing all we can to feed the hungry – especially women and children – who have been forced from their homes by a combination of drought and conflict,” said Stefano Porretti, the WFP Country Director for Somalia. “They are caught in the middle, squeezed on all sides, and need our support.”

The additional food distributions consist of high energy biscuits, fortified with vitamins and minerals. The food was delivered to residents of 20 camps in the outskirts of Mogadishu. The distribution followed an assessment of the needs of displaced families forced to move closer to the capital because of the drought.

In total, WFP aims to provide food assistance to 1.2 million people in Somalia this year. The agency requires some $46 million to enable it to respond to the needs of those facing hardship for the next six months. It has already reduced the size of rations for vulnerable groups, including the internally displaced persons in Mogadishu, due to dwindling resources.

The agency will also work with its partners to open new centres providing cooked meals in or near camps for the displaced.

The new centres will be in addition to 20 feeding centres that WFP supports across Mogadishu, feeding a total of 85,000 people each day. The total number of people being fed by WFP in Mogadishu now stands at 240,000.

WFP is providing food to 710,000 people in central and northern Somalia because of drought, conflict, rising food and fuel prices.

An estimated 2.4 million people – 32 per cent of the country’s 7.2 million people – are in need of relief aid as a result of drought and two decades of conflict.

News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

Somalia: top UN aid official voices alarm at intensified fighting, worsening drought

With intensified fighting in Somalia driving thousands more people from their homes in recent days and a devastating drought continuing to worsen, the top United Nations humanitarian official today voiced growing alarm for a nation that has already endured 20 years of war.