UN humanitarian flights to Somalia resume; WFP operations continue

he United Nations Common Air Services (UNCAS) which is managed by WFP, resumed humanitarian flights into Somalia on Friday 29 December with a plane leaving Nairobi for Hargeisa in northern Somalia carrying humanitarian workers and cargo.

Flights resume

The United Nations Common Air Services (UNCAS) which is managed by WFP, resumed humanitarian flights into Somalia on Friday 29 December with a plane leaving Nairobi for Hargeisa in northern Somalia carrying humanitarian workers and cargo. WFP had temporarily suspended all flights on 26 December.

UNCAS plans another flight on Saturday (30 December) of an aircraft from Nairobi to the southern Somali town of Wajid. These flights follow the Transitional Federal Government giving permission for humanitarian flights to resume after declaring Somalia's land, air and sea borders closed on 25 December.

Food distribution

Despite the fast-changing security situation in Somalia in the past week, WFP distributed an estimated 2,000 metric tons of food to 93,000 people affected by floods in Lower Shabelle and Middle and Lower Juba regions of southern Somalia, largely thanks to improved access by land.

A WFP-chartered ship loaded with 4,500 metric tons of WFP food docked in Mogadishu port on 26 December and started discharging the same day.

While the Somali administration of the port changed, dock workers have continued to unload the vessel and by Friday had unloaded 2,226 tons of food aid.

Background

On 27 December, WFP announced the suspension of its helicopter operation delivering humanitarian aid from the Somali port of Kismayo and both its air drop operation and passenger flights from Kenya into Somalia.

On 26 December, WFP temporarily relocated two Mi-8 helicopters and 25 humanitarian workers from Kismayo to Nairobi. They included 9 WFP staff (1 national and 8 international), 14 crew members and 2 UN security officers involved in air operations from Kismayo.

On 24 & 25 December, WFP carried out airdrops into Somalia, dropping a total of 28 metric tons of food.

WFP hopes to resume all its air operations using airdrops and helicopters in Somalia as soon as possible and is in contact with authorities on the ground in an attempt to achieve this. WFP still has more than 100 national staff in Somalia operating from 15 offices across the country; they are continuing to distribute food to victims of the floods, the preceding drought and the most vulnerable in other areas.