Chaff Launch

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Somalia: Food resupply halted


Emergency food ships get escorted safely to port in Somalia, but they aren't allowed to offload - things get worse as set out in Alarm as Somalia halts food aid:
The Somali government has prevented food aid being distributed in the crisis-hit Lower Shabelle region, international officials have said.

Two ships carrying aid, which the French navy escorted in to scare off pirates, cannot unload their cargo.

It said it was deeply concerned that the delivery of food aid was being restricted. Ports and airports have been closed and a road convoy halted.

The UN says one million Somalis are homeless because of the fighting.

The head of the national security service said President Abdullahi Yusuf had ordered restrictions to be imposed on the region immediately.

Meanwhile, Mr Yusuf has been taken to hospital in Nairobi. Officials say he is fine but others said he was in a "serious" condition.

He is expected to miss a big meeting on Wednesday in Ethiopia of regional leaders and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

A spokesman for the UN's World Food Programme said it had not been able to get an explanation - or even confirmation - from the government.

The new rules mean that 3.5 tonnes of food aid which arrived at Marka port under French navy escort to ward off pirates must remain on board.

The WFP also says it has stopped a convoy of trucks bringing food from Mogadishu to Joha after the toll charged at roadblocks rose from $75 to $500 a truck.

No aid agency staff are allowed to move in the region.
Not sounding so good...

More here.

UPDATE: Supplies restarted, as set out here:
Aid operations in southeastern Somalia resumed Wednesday after the government lifted a freeze implemented a day earlier for unclear reasons, the UN's food programme (WFP) said.

WFP spokesman Peter Smerdon said aid agencies and NGOs were authorised to resume activities which had been suspended by the authorities in the Lower Shabelle region, one of the worst affected by the country's ongoing humanitarian crisis.

"We have received a letter from the Lower Shabelle region government saying 'despite all that happened, this is to certify that all the humanitarian operations in Lower Shabelle region can be resumed following December 5'," Smerdon old reporters.

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