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Somalia: UN Food Relief For Flood Victims

Somalia: UN Food Relief For Flood Victims Is Returning To Normal After Fighting

United Nations emergency feeding operations for up to half a million flood victims in Somalia have started to return to normal after being disrupted over the last two weeks by fighting between the Ethiopian-backed transitional government and Islamic groups, according to the latest update by the UN. World Food Programme (WFP).

The UN is trying to estimate the levels of civilian displacement caused by the fighting amid a gradual increase since last week of new Somali refugees arriving at the Kenyan border crossing point of Liboi to reach refugee camps at Dadaab, already hosting more than 160,000 people, mainly Somalis.

Most displacement within Somalia appears to have been fairly localized and people moved back home after security was re-established.

UN passenger and cargo flights, which are managed by WFP, resumed on Friday from Nairobi to Somalia after a two-day suspension although flights to Mogadishu, the capital, cannot start until an assessment by the UN Department of Safety and Security.

National staff were flown yesterday to WFP's logistics base in the southern Somali town of Wajid after the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) allowed humanitarian flights to resume. Food distributions to flood-affected people in Afmadow district of southern Somalia resumed on Monday. In flood-affected areas, water levels are lower and WFP is exploring the possibility of resuming helicopter operations to reach locations that are still inaccessible by land.

WFP is also investigating the viability of resuming food delivery by boat. It is doubtful that airdrops from the Kenyan port of Mombasa will resume in Somalia given the improved road access and the relative expense of airdrops.

A WFP-chartered ship with 4,500 metric tons of WFP food arrived in Mogadishu on 26 December and started discharging the same day. While the Somali control of the port changed three times – from the Islamic Courts group to a sub-clan to the TFG – dock workers continued to unload the vessel and completed their work by Friday night.

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