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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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