Somalia?s new interim government is asking the United Nations Environment Program, UNEP, to investigate waste that was washed ashore during the December tsunami. 

It says it?s receiving reports that people and animals that have come in contact with it have become sick and died. 

Mohamed Osman Maye is the Somali Minister of Environment and Disaster Management.  From Nairobi, he spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the request made to the United Nations. 

He says symptoms of the sickness include skin damage and bleeding from the nose.  He says it appears the problem stretches from the destroyed village of Hafun in the north to many towns to the south. 

Despite the request, Minister Maye says UNEP said it was unable to send anyone to investigate the problem at this time due to security reasons.  This despite the fact, he says, that the United Nations has a number of humanitarian operations already underway in Somalia.  So far, there?s no official comment from UNEP.