26 March 2009
Pirates armed with machine guns pursued and captured a Norwegian chemical tanker off the coast of Somalia on Thursday, the owners said, less than 24 hours after a smaller Greek-owned vessel was seized in the same area. The U.S. 5th Fleet, which patrols the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden, confirmed both hijackings and said they happened in the same area but separate from the gulf, one of the world's busiest — and now most treacherous — sea lanes. [...] An earlier NATO mission — sent to the region in October in response to appeals by the United Nations — was replaced in December by an EU flotilla. Its main task is to escort cargo ships chartered by the U.N. World Food Program carrying humanitarian aid to Somalia, which has been without a functioning government since 1991.
26 March 2009
Hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees holed up in northern Kenya face a "humanitarian emergency" this year as disease starts spreading through overcrowded camps, Oxfam warned on Friday. [...] Aid workers say the humanitarian situation in Somalia is the worst in the world. Fighting has killed more than 17,000 civilians since the start of 2007, one million more have been driven from their homes and about a third of the population -- more than 3 million people -- need emergency food aid.
26 March 2009
At least 15,000 Somalis, who had fled to the self-declared republic of Somaliland to escape violence in Mogadishu, want to return home following the recent change of government but lack the means to do so, aid workers said. [...] "The families want to return due to the difficult conditions they live in here," Zainab Mohamud, head of the Gashan Women's Development Organisation, who works with the displaced families, told IRIN on 25 March. [...] She said the families had received some food aid from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) but little else.
19 March 2009
Despite the launch of "one of the largest anti-piracy flotillas in modern history," the clan-organized taking of vessels off the coast of Somalia will only cease when order is restored to the Horn of Africa nation, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a report released here on Wednesday. (...) Of great concern to the United Nations, Ban said, is the safety of vessels carrying food and other aid on which some 2.4 million Somalis depend, 95 percent of which arrives by sea and which was threatened by the 2007 attack on a ship contracted by the World Food Program (WFP).
19 March 2009
The United Nations agencies said more than 14,000 new Somali refugees have been registered in Kenya in January, adding to a refugee population which already far exceeds the capacity of existing camps and support mechanisms. "New arrivals are expected to continue during the course of the year. Therefore, there is an immediate need to decongest existing camps and accommodate arrivals in new camps with adequate infrastructure," said OCHA, citing figures from the UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF.
17 March 2009
Four humanitarian workers kidnapped in Somalia have been released, United Nations humanitarian agency said. A statement from the Nairobi-based UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued on Monday night said the aid workers, who were with the United Nations Development Programme and the World Food Programme, were released unharmed.
17 March 2009
It is a cliché that Somalia is one of the most dangerous places in the world. The perils posed by pirates offshore and by bandits and politically motivated armed groups on the mainland are well known. Less appreciated is the scale of the continuous migration from Somalia and its regional implications. [...] Kenya is a signatory of the United Nations Refugee Convention, and all Somalis who make it to Kenya are recognized as "prima facie" refugees -- that is, they need not go through individual interviews to determine their refugee status. Once registered by the U.N. office for refugees, UNHCR, they are entitled to food rations from the World Food Program. But not all goes smoothly. Two years ago, citing security concerns, Kenya closed its border with Somalia. Since then almost 100,000 Somalis fleeing war and drought have still managed to sneak into Kenya. However, since all crossings are now illegal, those refugees who make it to Kenya do not go through the official reception center that made the whole process more orderly.
17 March 2009
Four U.N. humanitarian workers kidnapped on Monday by gunmen in southern Somalia have been freed, hardline Islamist insurgents and the United Nations said. "I can confirm to you that all four aid workers were released from militia who abducted them in Wajid this morning -- unconditionally after a joint effort," al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Muktar Robow Mansoor told Reuters. The United Nations said a small, independently operating group had seized a Somali national working in Wajid and three foreign staff members en route to Kenya from the semi-autonomous northern Somali region of Puntland. [...] Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for aid workers, who have been the targets of assassinations and kidnappings during a two-year insurgency led by Islamist insurgents against the government and foreign backers. The U.N.'s World Food Program has continued to deliver food aid in areas of Somalia controlled by al Shabaab, which is on Washington's list of foreign terrorist groups.
16 March 2009
Gunmen kidnapped four aid workers in southern Somalia on Monday, including one believed to be foreign, a humanitarian source said. "The aid workers were in transit in Wajid, where they spent the night on the way from Puntland. They were taken early on Monday morning," a U.N. worker, who declined to be named, told Reuters, adding that some worked for the U.N. World Food Programme.
6 March 2009
Three months after aid deliveries to the south Somali coastal town of Merka stopped, several thousand displaced people are facing a food and water crisis, sources said. "What little food we had is gone; we have had no help in almost three months," Zeinab Sheikh Hassan told IRIN. "We are in a desperate situation and we need help now." [...] The UN World Food Programme (WFP) halted general distributions in Merka in January because of insecurity – except for some distributions to hospitals and supplementary feeding that has continued. "Our international staff were relocated from Merka at the end of October, but we still have national staff there," WFP spokesman Peter Smerdon said. "We are currently asking all local administrations and armed groups in South and Central Somalia to provide security commitments following the killing of two WFP staff within three days in January." WFP has reached agreements in many areas, but Merka has proved to be one of the more difficult. "We are moving toward a solution and will be able to return to full operations soon," Smerdon added.
- WFP: 1.6 Million in Need of Food Aid in Somalia Source: VOA News
- Somalia: UN Relief Official Cautions Against Complacency On Food Security Source: allAfrica
- As peace returns to Somali town, UN food relief agency resumes assistance Source: UN News Centre
- Food shortage crisis in Dadaab refugee camp Source: ABC News (Australia)
- UN: Millions in Somalia Need Aid Source: VOA News
- 6 February 2013 WFP Food Assistance Returns To Kismayo
- 16 October 2012 Somalia: Livestock Farmer Begins To Recover From Drought