Hunger in the news

18 August 2009

The United Nation's World Food Program says rogue members of Somalia's extremist al-Shabab group attempted to raid its compound late Sunday in the Somali town of Wajid, about 300 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu.   World Food Program spokesman, Peter Smerdon, tells VOA that as many as 10 heavily-armed gunmen approached the WFP compound in Wajid shortly before midnight Sunday.   Smerdon says they ordered the security guards to open the gate. When the guards refused, the gunmen opened fire. "In the ensuing gun battle, which lasted about 15 minutes, three of the gunmen were killed and one was seriously wounded. One guard was slightly wounded. The attackers were rogue elements of al-Shabab from outside Wajid and they subsequently left Wajid after the assault on the compound," he said.

18 August 2009

Suspected Islamist rebels attacked a U.N. World Food Program (WFP) compound in southern Somalia, witnesses said on Monday, but U.N. guards fought back and shot dead three of the assailants. One U.N. official said about 10 heavily armed men attacked them overnight in Wajid, 70 km (40 miles) northwest of Baidoa. "After several minutes shooting our security guards repulsed the attackers and killed three of them," the official told Reuters, adding that one guard at the compound was injured. "We don't know what they planned, but we think they wanted to take over the whole compound and kidnap foreign aid workers." Another U.N. official said nine foreign aid workers staying in Wajid were evacuated at dawn to neighboring Kenya

12 August 2009

Isack Abdinor Satar, 80, remembers a green and lush Baidoa, in south-western Somalia, with waterfalls in areas that are now the town's suburbs.
Over the years, population pressure, drought and changing weather patterns have caused most of these waterfalls and springs to dry up, totally changing the town's vegetation cover and ushering in perennial water shortages.

12 August 2009

Despite the renewed fighting in Somalia and the continuing fragility of its institutions, there is hope that the situation can change. (..) The EU is already the world's biggest donor of humanitarian relief for the desperate victims of the conflict (€40m so far this year) and Operation Atalanta is ensuring that one and a half million mouths are fed each day by escorting World Food Programme ships safely along the coast of Somalia.

10 August 2009

The Italian government has welcomed the release of 10 Italian hostages freed by Somali pirates at the weekend. (..) The International Maritime Organization and the World Food Programme, have expressed their concern about the number of attacks on foreign ships in the region.

7 August 2009

Lack of access has prevented the United Nations from delivering food to 500,000 of its planned 3.3 million beneficiaries in Somalia over the past month (..) the UN humanitarian agency reported here on Friday. At the same time, the WFP will face critical shortfalls as of October and urgently requires 209,000 metric tons of food worth 208 million U.S. dollars to cover the current aid pipeline until the end of March 2010.

29 July 2009

As fighting between Somali government forces and militias continues, so does the displacement of many thousands of civilians. (..) World Food Program spokesman Peter Smerdon, in Nairobi, describes operations in Somalia as "a rather difficult undertaking." "Overall, the World Food Program has so far received just 40 percent of the resources it needs to assist 3.5 million Somalis from April 2009 through to next March," he says.

24 July 2009

Repeated attempts to overthrow Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) are a source of deep concern, UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said in anew report released on Thursday, calling on the international community to continue its support for the struggling Horn of Africa nation. (..) On the issue of piracy off Somalia's coast, Ban expressed his gratitude to all nations and regional organizations which have ensured that UN World Food Program (WFP) and UN-contracted ships are able to deliver vital humanitarian aid to Somalia. And he also urged other countries to join in the effort.

23 July 2009

Ongoing conflict in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, has led to the closure of many feeding centres across the city, putting pressure on already crowed camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) as more and more people flee their homes, say local officials. (..) An official of the UN World Food Programme (WFP-Somalia), which provides food aid to hundreds of thousands of Somalis, said most of the 16 feeding centres it had been supplying had closed down due to insecurity. Mohamed Hassan Guled, WFP's information officer, said the agency was aware of the closures and was assessing the situation.

21 July 2009

Intense fighting is making it increasingly difficult to deliver aid to Somalia, where it is crucial to combat cholera outbreaks and maintain food supplies, U.N. agencies said Tuesday. (..) The World Food Program said its operations continued in Somalia, where it is feeding 3.5 million people, despite gunmen entering its Wajid compound in the Bakool region Monday. "WFP has managed to maintain our supply lines to hungry people in Somalia, overcoming obstacles that range from piracy on the seas off the coast to insecurity and attacks on our staff on the ground," WFP spokeswoman Emilia Casella told reporters.