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)



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

Pakistan Among Developing Countries Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

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

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs