MOGADISHU – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners this week began an emergency distribution of food to an additional 50,000 people in Mogadishu in response to the drought gripping much of the country.
“WFP and its partners are doing all we can to feed the hungry – especially women and children - who have been forced from their homes by a combination of drought and conflict,” said Stefano Porretti, WFP Somalia Country Director. “They are caught in the middle, squeezed on all sides, and need our support.”
The additional food, consisting of high energy biscuits, fortified with vitamins and minerals, was distributed at 20 camps on the outskirts of the capital. The distribution followed an assessment by WFP and the Danish Refugee Council and Norwegian Refugee Council of the needs of displaced families forced to move closer to the capital because of the drought.
- In total, WFP aims to provide food assistance to 1.2 million people in Somalia in 2011.
- As well as providing high energy biscuits to an additional 50,000 people in Mogadishu, WFP will work with its partners to open new centres providing cooked meals in or near camps for displaced people.
- These new centres will be in addition to 20 feeding centres that WFP supports across Mogadishu, feeding a total of 85,000 people each day.
- The total number of people being fed by WFP in Mogadishu now stands at 240,000.
- WFP is feeding 710,000 people in central and northern Somalia because of drought, conflict, rising food and fuel prices.
- Overall in responding to the increasing needs, WFP is using general food distributions where the need is clear but also focusing on approaches that are more tightly targeted – such as supplementary feeding of malnourished children.
- In February, WFP and eight partners began supplementary feeding of 18,200 malnourished children and pregnant or nursing mothers at 49 locations in six-drought stricken districts in the Mudug and Galgadud regions of central Somalia.
- The families of malnourished children also receive a WFP ration, raising the total being fed as part of the new initiative in the six districts to 100,000 people.
- Since January to the end of March, WFP targets 170,000 displaced people in three districts in central Somalia with food on top of 250,000 receiving monthly general food distributions.
- In Somaliland in the Northwest, WFP trebled in the last three months the number of children and pregnant or nursing women assisted to combat malnutrition.
- In Puntland in the Northeast, WFP is doubling the number of women and children being helped through nutrition programmes.
WFP urgently needs US$46 million to feed 1.2 million people in Somalia for the next six months and we have already reduced the size of rations for vulnerable groups including the displaced in Mogadishu because of the shortfalls.