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Asian Tsunami Emergency Will Not Affect Food Relief For Africa

A Rome-based spokesperson for the World Food Program says her organization will not divert food supplies from Africa to survivors of the tsunami that hit Asia last weekend. Caroline Hurford says, for example, that the WFP has stockpiled food for two decades in Sri Lanka due to two decades of civil war of civil war. On Thursday (Dec. 30), they will begin shipping that food to coastal areas hit by the giant tidal waves.

Ms. Hurford says in Africa the WFP has started moving 31 tons of food to help two thousand people on an island in the north, where food distribution will also begin on Thursday. Food stocks within Somalia will be moved around to meet areas of need. The WFP is also planning to make an aerial assessment along the Somali coast. Meanwhile, Ms. Hurford says ongoing operations in Madagascar are ready to serve any coastal area in Africa hit by the tsunami.

But there are problems with food distribution to Sudan's western Darfur region. The WFP suspended distribution after rebels launched a large-scale attack that prompted retaliation by government forces. The UN agency says the decision to stop deliveries means an estimated 260,000 people will miss their food ration. WFP spokeswoman Caroline Hurford expects food deliveries to resume as soon as improved security can be provided.