WFP warns of food supply line break to Somalia as needs grow

Published on 17 July 2007

WFP has appealed for urgent contributions to avoid breaks in its supply line of food assistance to Somalia because of forecasts of crop failure.

WFP appealed today for urgent contributions to avoid breaks in its supply line of food assistance to Somalia because of forecasts of crop failure.

We are calling for immediate contributions because the needs of the weakest Somalis – mainly women and children – are growing for reasons entirely beyond their control

WFP Country Director for Somalia Peter Goossens

The growing need for food assistance follows a warning in June by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Security Analysis Unit Somalia of a crop failure or below average production in July to August in much of southern and central Somalia because of poor rainfall.

Needs

WFP Country Director for Somalia Peter Goossens said WFP requires now US$19.5 million or 26,500 metric tons of food by the end of 2007 to feed one million people in Somalia.

Without new contributions, WFP will be short of 8,500 tons by October and the accumulated deficit will grow to 70,000 tons worth US$53 million by May 2008.

“We are calling for immediate contributions because the needs of the weakest Somalis – mainly women and children – are growing for reasons entirely beyond their control and it can take up to three or four months to get food assistance into Somalia,” Goossens said.

“The people of Somalia have been hit by drought and floods last year and now insecurity and new displacements. They need humanitarian assistance to survive.”

Crop failure

The first impact of the forecast crop failure or poor harvest should become evident by October. WFP therefore revised its projections and estimates that it may need 50 percent more food assistance from October until May 2008 than what was planned for all of 2007.

So far this year, more than 924,000 people have received WFP food in Somalia – most of them in southern and central parts of the country.

At the same time as more food assistance is required, WFP’s fragile supply lines to Somalia by sea are under threat from a plague of piracy off Somalia.

Pirates

Nearly 80 percent of WFP’s assistance to Somalia is shipped by sea but increased pirates attacks this year has cut by half the availability of vessels able to carry food to Somali ports.

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran and the Secretary-General of the UN International Maritime Organization Efthimios E. Mitropoulos appealed on 10 July for concerted and coordinated international action to address the threat of piracy and armed robbery against ships off Somalia.