News / Africa

WFP: 1.6 Million in Need of Food Aid in Somalia

A Somali boy carries a tray of nuts and snacks on top of his head as he walks near a market place in the town of Jawhar in Middle Shabelle region, north of the Somali capital Mogadishu, December 11, 2012.
A Somali boy carries a tray of nuts and snacks on top of his head as he walks near a market place in the town of Jawhar in Middle Shabelle region, north of the Somali capital Mogadishu, December 11, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
The World Food Program (WFP) reports it plans to feed 1.6 million people in Somalia this year, including more than one million people who are in a state of crisis.  WFP says some of the most vulnerable people are in areas formerly controlled by the Islamist militant group al-Shabab.

The World Food Program reports the situation in Somalia is somewhat better now than it was in August 2011, when the country was struggling with conflict and drought.  Though the number of those in need has dropped by more than half, WFP says the situation remains critical, especially in the south.

It is for this reason that WFP says it is particularly happy to be able to work again in the port city of Kismayo.  This will be the first time in over four years that the agency will have access to this former stronghold of al-Shabab militants.  

The Islamists, which held the population of southern Somalia virtually hostage for three years, barred the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies from entering the region and providing assistance.  

WFP spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs said a rapid food security and nutrition assessment carried out in Kismayo shows the severity of the situation there.“We found that half of the families of the households surveyed in Kismayo were food insecure and nearly 24 percent of children in Kismayo under the age of five were malnourished.  So, the population has suffered from the lack of assistance," she said. "From the withdrawal of aid agencies and NGO’s.”  

Byrs says WFP already has begun programs to assist people in Kismayo, with a special emphasis on children under five and lactating mothers.  One program she says provides daily hot meals to people in need of emergency assistance.  

She says WFP is shifting from emergency assistance toward programs that help the most vulnerable become more resilient.  She says it is important they have the means to cope with natural disasters, such as drought and floods.

“We do this by helping communities build assets to strengthen local livelihoods, such as building reservoirs, wells, building roads, reinforcing social safety nets including, of course, nutrition programs for mothers and very young children.  Also, we provide school meals,” Byrs explained. 

Byrs says WFP will be closely monitoring these programs to make sure they are working.  She says people in Somalia remain extremely vulnerable and anything could easily push them back into a crisis mode.

WFP is appealing for $57 million to carry out its humanitarian operation over the next six months.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Nigerians Await New President With High Hopes

When pomp and circumstance of inauguration end in Abuja, Buhari will sit down to the hard task of governing Nigeria More

India's Restrictions on Several NGOs Raise Concerns

Political analysts link recent clampdown on advocacy groups to report last year that said foreign-funded NGO’s negatively impact economic development 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs