As fighting between Somali government
forces and militias continues, so does the displacement of many thousands of
recent months, Somalis have fled the capital, Mogadishu, in droves, affecting
humanitarian operations as agencies adjust where and how they distribute aid.
Food Program spokesman Peter Smerdon, in Nairobi, describes operations in
Somalia as "a rather difficult undertaking."
Budgetary needs unmet
the World Food Program has so far received just 40 percent of the resources it
needs to assist 3.5 million Somalis from April 2009 through to next March," he
could be more ration cuts.
without any new contributions, will run out of food to distribute from
October. Therefore," says Smerdon, "we
need urgent contributions now to avoid continued ration cuts beyond September
or having to entirely halt feeding to vulnerable groups."
of thousands of Somalis have left Mogadishu in recent months, seeking a safe
haven from the ongoing fighting in the city.
The UN refugee agency is trying to find out where they went. It's expected to release a new assessment in
will try to get assistance to them, but it's very difficult," he says.
Poor and hungry
the displaced people are the most vulnerable because often they've fled
Mogadishu with just the clothes on their back. And they don't have jobs. They
have no money with them. They've used
what money they can to get out of Mogadishu," he says.
"The fighting in Mogadishu," says
Smerdon, "forced our Somali NGO partner in the capital to suspend on the 20th
of June the provision of 80,000 daily prepared meals that are handed out to the
most desperate people through 16 centers across the city," he says.
months of food worth $700,000 had been pre-positioned in the capital for the
program. The food remains in the city,
but it's not known when distribution will resume.
the only large-scale feeding program in the Somali capital at the moment. So, it's a big blow to people inside the
city," he says.
Local harvests part of food aid
main rains harvest is just starting. So
what we do is we reduce our relief distribution to some people…in order to not
force down prices for produce from local farmers," he says.
harvest also creates jobs. Food
distribution will be reduced in some areas in August and September and then
gradually rise after the harvest.
of those who've fled the capital, says Smerdon, have settled in the Afgooye
distributions in Afgooye have continued.
There are more than 400,000 people living in a string of camps on the
road to Afgooye out of Mogadishu…. Sometimes we have to divert the trucks
because there's fighting in a particular place," he says.
food ships continue to arrive in Mogadishu port, escorted by international
naval vessels to ward off pirates.
"The supply line to Afgooye has been
pretty secure so far," he says.