News / Africa

UNHCR Humanitarian Airlift Arrives in Mogadishu

Tons of relief from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are offloaded after landing at Mogadishu airport, Somalia, Monday, Aug. 8, 2011
Tons of relief from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are offloaded after landing at Mogadishu airport, Somalia, Monday, Aug. 8, 2011
Lisa Schlein

The U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, has made the first of three emergency airlifts of urgently-needed relief supplies to the Somali capital, Mogadishu.  This is the first airlift to Mogadishu undertaken by the agency in five years.   

U.N. refugee agency spokesman Andrej Mahecic tells VOA that the UNHCR-chartered Ilyushin cargo plane has delivered more than 30 metric tons of shelter material and other aid items from the agency’s emergency stockpile in Dubai.

Watch a Related Report by Laurel Bowman:

He says other items include plastic sheeting for shelter, sleeping mats and blankets, jerricans for water, as well as kitchen utensils to collect and cook food.  He says this first shipment of relief items will be distributed to some 26,000 victims of drought and famine in Mogadishu.

“This aid is urgently needed because the Somali capital even before this crisis already hosted more than 370,000 internally displaced people, and with the recent crisis driven by drought and famine-related displacement, another 100,000 Somalis desperately flocked to the capital seeking some assistance there," said Mahecic.

The UNHCR has been bringing relief items to Mogadishu by sea and by land during the past five years. But, because of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Somalia, the agency decided to airlift supplies now, as the quickest way to provide desperately-needed assistance to increasing numbers of famine victims.

Despite the urgency of the situation, Mahecic says great care has to be taken in the distribution of the supplies because of the dangerous security situation. He says it is not clear whether the abrupt withdrawal of Islamist al-Shabab rebels from Mogadishu will improve conditions there.

He tells VOA the UNHCR was shocked by riots that broke out over the distribution of emergency food in a camp for displaced people on Friday. During this melee, government troops looted sacks of grain and killed several people.

“I think this just points out how volatile the situation is in the Somali capital and in south-central Somalia," he said. "Even in the areas controlled by one side or the other there are a number of competing militias and there are a lot of people around with guns. In fact, we were forced to suspend our own distribution at the very same site the day before the actual shooting and the looting happened. So, of course, we are following that up very carefully.”

The second UNHCR flight is scheduled to arrive on Thursday, with the third to follow next week.  The agency says it hopes to distribute the supplies to 180,000 people in Mogadishu and famine-stricken south and central Somalia by the end of the month.

While much of the aid is being delivered from abroad, the UNHCR says it is running out of emergency stocks inside Somalia and this will have to be replenished.   

The agency is once again appealing to donors for money to provide protection and emergency needs for the refugee crisis in the Horn of Africa until the end of the year.  It says it only has received 45 percent of its $145 million appeal to cover needs for Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid