The UN’s World Food Programme said Tuesday that the “vast majority” of its aid relief to famine-stricken Mogadishu was reaching those in need, in response to claims that some is being stolen.
“The WFP is confident that the vast majority of humanitarian food is reaching starving people in Mogadishu and saving lives every day,” WFP spokeswoman Christiane Berthiaume told reporters.
Her comments came the day after Somalia’s transitional government said it was investigating reports of aid theft, while adding that there were no firm figures on the scale of any such problem.
The WFP is currently providing food assistance to some 1.5 million people in central and northern Somalia. Berthiaume added that some 5,000 tonnes of food per month was being distributed in Mogadishu alone.
More than 12.4 million people are at risk of starvation, according to the United Nations’ emergency relief coordination agency.
The UN warned on August 12 that a cholera epidemic in Somalia, which has claimed at least 181 lives in one Mogadishu hospital this year, could quickly spread as thousands flee famine in the south.
Over 100,000 people have fled into Somalia’s famine-hit and war-torn capital in the past two months in search of food, water and medicine. Some 12 million people in parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda and Somalia are in danger of starvation in the wake of the region’s worst drought in decades.
War-wracked Somalia is the country hardest hit by the Horn of Africa’s drought, with five areas declared to be experiencing famine. – AFP