WFP food provides daily meals to Moghadishu's hungry -- first time in 15 years

Published on 12 March 2007

WFP and a Somali partner have started giving daily meals to tens of thousands of desperately hungry people in the capital Mogadishu -- the agency’s first ‘wet feeding’ in Somalia since the 1993 humanitarian emergency.

The World Food Programme and a Somali partner have started giving daily meals to tens of thousands of desperately

We urge everyone to respect this vital humanitarian operation, which is feeding the desperately hungry
FP Somalia Country Director Peter Goossens

hungry people in the capital Mogadishu -- the agency’s first ‘wet feeding’ in Somalia since the 1993 humanitarian emergency.

The meals started to be distributed on 25 November and numbers are expanding daily.

Alarming

By Monday, WFP and its NGO partner SAACID were feeding at least 21,000 people in eight city districts. They plan to provide meals in up to 10 districts with a target of up to 50,000 people each day.

“The depth and scale of the crisis in Somalia is extremely alarming to us all – in some parts acute malnutrition levels surpass emergency threshold levels,” said WFP Somalia Country Director Peter Goossens, adding that the success of the operation demonstrated the determination of WFP and SAACID to reach the hungry despite a multitude of obstacles.

“We urge everyone to respect this vital humanitarian operation, which is feeding the desperately hungry," he said.

Fatal shootings

WFP was forced to start wet feeding in Mogadishu after fatal shooting incidents halted distributions of WFP dry rations in the capital in late June.

As one-month rations of dried food are stored in beneficiaries’ homes, they are more liable to be looted than prepared meals eaten on site.

Goossens said insecurity in Mogadishu was also causing the disruption of markets with consequent hyperinflation.

Acute malnutrition

There is a major lack of employment, and a shortage of medical and sanitation facilities. Malnutrition rates in the capital are rising, with acute malnutrition rates among children under the age of 5 years estimated to be reaching 15 percent or more.

With food assistance needs on the rise, WFP is appealing to donors to bridge a US$31 million funding gap.

Last week, WFP private sector partner YUM! Brands announced a US$1 million contribution from the funds raised during its 'World Hunger Relief Week' campaign in October.

Heavy fighting

This is the largest corporate donation to WFP Somalia. Some 30 kilometres west of Mogadishu, WFP is consistently reaching people who fled heavy fighting in the capital.

From last Saturday to Tuesday, a one-month ration of WFP food was distributed in the Afgoye area to 180,000 people -- part of 600,000 people who fled their homes in the capital this year.