News / Africa

ICRC Suspends Food Aid to 1.1 Million Somalis

Children from southern Somalia get cooked food at a local NGO's compound in Mogadishu, Somalia, September14, 2011. (File)
Children from southern Somalia get cooked food at a local NGO's compound in Mogadishu, Somalia, September14, 2011. (File)

Multimedia

Audio

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is temporarily suspending distribution of aid to more than one million people in central and southern Somalia, after local authorities blocked deliveries of food and seeds.

In mid-December, authorities in Jowhar, in the Middle Shabelle region of central Somalia, stopped a Red Cross humanitarian convoy for what they called a quality check.  Four weeks later, the ICRC says it hasn't received any reason why authorities are still holding up the convoy, and due to that, they have decided to suspend its operations in central and southern Somalia.

Anna Schaaf is ICRC Africa's communication officer.  She says the agreement on food distribution the ICRC had with local authorities is not being respected, and that until they have guarantees they will not distribute the food.

"We had an agreement that they would respect our working modalities, which allow us to work as a neutral and independent humanitarian organization," said Schaaf.  "So we have working modalities that are the same all over the world, which means for example we are the ones who are making assessment on the ground and we are the ones deciding what we are distributing and where exactly."

Schaaf says the ICRC is very much concerned about the situation and called on local authorities to give a quick explanation on why they are holding trucks full of food aid.

"Now we would like to know what the reason is for the blockade of this convoy, and we would like to have guarantees our working modalities are respected in the future, so that we can actually go on with food distribution as planned for 1.1 million people," added Schaaf.

Schaaf did not specifically say who is blocking ICRC supplies from reaching Somalis in need.  However, Middle Shabelle is controlled by the Islamist militant group al-Shabab, which has banned most aid groups from operating in the areas under its control.   ICRC is one of the few humanitarian aid agencies that has been given access and is providing basic needs in central and southern Somalia.

The humanitarian crisis in the region remains one of the worst on the planet.  Several parts of southern Somalia were declared famine zones last year, and the region has suffered through years of drought and conflict.

The drought has eased in recent months thanks to improved rains, but insecurity remains high in the south, where Kenyan forces who entered Somalia in October are fighting frequent battles with al-Shabab.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid