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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Feeding Somalia: First pirates, now a food shortage

Two million Somalis at risk of starvation because of a combination of piracy and a food shortage as reported here:
WFP Somalia, he said, has a crisis as it has exhausted its food stocks save for 40 metric tonnes, which is lying at its Mombasa depot.

Velden said the number of hungry people in Somalia had shot from 600,000 to two million.

He said the 1,500 metric tonnes of food, which was ferried to Somalia last December, had been exhausted.

The WFP Somalia deputy director said the agency would buy food from South Africa.

"We are finding means to buy food from South Africa. WFP will continue to assist Somalia to ensure that there no more food-related deaths," said Velden.

Velden said WFP requires between 41,000 to 100,000 metric tonnes till June.

The official yesterday said Usaid had donated 1,500 metric tonnes of food to Somalia.

Velden said the cargo is expected to arrive at the port of Mombasa this month.

The relief food, he said, would be ferried to Somalia by sea, through WFP chartered vessels.

WFP uses ships owned by a Dubai contractor for relief cargo from Mombasa to south Somalia. WFP is using the Merka port for small-scale shipments.

Shipping agents now want protection by navy security personnel to use Merka on a larger scale.

The official said navy officers were patrolling Kenyan waters to curb piracy.

He said WFP intended to use the two existing shipping liner feeders from Jeddah (P&Nedloyds) and Aden (PIL) for Somaliland and Puntland.

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