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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid