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Friday, August 31, 2007

Somalia: Food aid ($) needed

The World Food Program looks for more money as situation in Somalia continues to be bleak, as set out in WFP Needs U.S. $ 22 Million to Secure Food For 1.2 Million:
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today increased the number of people it aims to feed in Somalia this year to 1.2 million and appealed for urgent contributions of US$22.4 million to avoid a looming break in food supplies.

The rise to 1.2 million people, an increase of 200,000 over previous estimates, is the result of a dramatic deterioration in the Lower and Middle Shabelle regions of southern Somalia. Long viewed as the country's 'breadbasket', the area has recently suffered a variety of shocks - below normal or long rains that ended in June, rising inflation, an influx of displaced people, insecurity, trade disruptions and worsening health conditions.

"The Shabelle regions usually export food to other regions, but this year they cannot feed themselves so the most vulnerable require our help," said WFP Somalia Country Director Peter Goossens. "Also, families driven from Mogadishu by fighting need food for the coming months."
The top 10 donors to WFP's two-year Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation in Somalia ending in July 2008 are: the United States (US$23 million), Canada (US$7.8 million), Netherlands (US$6.8 million), Saudi Arabia (US$3.3 million), Japan (US$3.2 million), multilateral funds (US$2.2 million), Germany (US$2 million), Finland (US$1.9 million), Ireland (US$1.7 million) and Switzerland (US$730,000).
The Shabell region also recently suffered heavy flooding, as set out here, destroying what looked to be a good crop:
Floods have destroyed at least 4,000 hectares of farmland in southern Somalia's Middle Shabelle region, affecting 12,000 people, local officials said.

The damage occurred around the town of Jowhar, the regional capital, where the Shabelle River burst its banks last week.

"Some of the villagers were about to harvest [crops] when the river broke its banks," Usman Haji Abdullahi Aqil, Jowhar district commissioner, told IRIN on 29 August. "Some 2,050 families [about 12,000 people] were affected and lost their crops."

He said residents of the area have had poor harvests during the past two years and were expecting 2007 to be a good year. "Now everything is lost and we have to appeal for help," said Aqil.
The situation was exacerbated by the fact that since the collapse of Somalia's national government in 1991, nobody has been able "to desilt the riverbed or manage the sluice gates on the rivers or adjoining canals", according to the district commissioner. Other local sources said farmers had also eroded the river bank in an effort to irrigate their fields.
And, as Strategy Page notes, here, the threat of piracy is preventing the delivery of food by ship and the cost and time of overland delivery is very high:
Foreign aid donors are reluctant to help, because Somali pirates attack ships carrying food and other aid, demanding ransom for hijacked ships and crews. Bringing food in by truck from Kenya is much more expensive. Not just because trucks are more expensive to operate than ships, but because of the dozens of roadblocks established by warlords and bandits, demanding a bribe from the truck driver, or taking part of the cargo. Foreign countries with warships off the coast are reluctant to get involved suppressing the pirates. Because to really do that you have to go ashore and control the coastal villages the pirates come from.
"You attack it, you own it" seems to be the rule, and no one wants to get involved in Somalia.

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