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

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs