World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Somalia: Aid Suspended As Fighting Intensifies

Somalia: UN Food Aid Agency Suspends Air Delivery As Fighting Intensifies

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended much of its delivery of aid by air in Somalia due to increased fighting, including its first airdrops in eight years, and withdrawn its last international staff from a country where it has been struggling to feed up to half a million people hit by floods.

The intensified conflict between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) is also disrupting the dispatch of WFP food by road within Somalia, delaying distribution, and the agency today urged all parties to allow humanitarian workers and aid to move freely and safely to help the most vulnerable.

“WFP hopes to resume all its air operations using airdrops and helicopters and its humanitarian passenger and cargo services in Somalia as soon as possible and is in contact with authorities on the ground in an attempt to achieve this,” it added.

The airdrops on Sunday and Monday by an Antonov-12, flying out of Mombasa in neighbouring Kenya, were the first by WFP in Somalia since 1998 when floods submerged much of the region, and had delivered 28 metric tons before the agency suspended them yesterday due to a TFG ban on using Somali air space.

It also temporarily relocated two MI-8 helicopters and 25 humanitarian workers, including its last eight international staffers, from the Somalia port of Kismayo to Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, at the request of Kismayo authorities because of expected unrest.

There are still more than 100 national staff operating from 15 offices across the country, working to distribute food. “The quantity of food affected by the suspension of airdrops and helicopter operations is small in tonnage terms in comparison to the total amount of food delivered in Somalia by WFP, but it is very significant for those people we are trying to reach because they were cut off from access by land,” the agency said.

WFP also suspended its passenger and cargo flights from Kenya into Somalia but hopes to resume them from Nairobi to northern Somalia and within northern Somalia tomorrow.

Since the beginning of November 8,000 tons of WFP food, transported by water, land and air have been distributed to 383,000 people in flood-affected areas of south and central Somalia, which earlier this year was hit by the worst drought in 10 years.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday telephoned Ethiopian Prime Minster Meles Zenawi, whose forces are helping the TFG, to try and halt the violence. Mr. Annan’s Special Representative for Somalia, François Lonsény Fall urged the Security Council to call on all sides to immediately stop fighting, warning of possible regional consequences if the conflict escalates. The Council has scheduled consultations on the matter today.

Today, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour expressed deep concern for civilian victims. In response to reports of aerial bombardments by Ethiopian forces, she insisted that the laws of war must be respected at all times, granting safe passage to civilians fleeing the conflict and access for humanitarian organizations. “It is unacceptable that the people of Somalia are again facing an upsurge in violence, displacement and human rights violations,” she said.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>


Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news