WFP Ready To Respond To Somalia Allegations

Published on 11 March 2010

Copyright: WFP/Peter Smerdon

 

WFP is ready to provide full assistance to any independent investigation into its food assistance operations in Somalia, where the agency aims to feed 2.5 million people in 2010.  "Our integrity is paramount," said Executive Director Josette Sheeran.

ROME – WFP said on Thursday it is ready to provide full assistance to any independent investigation into its food assistance operations in Somalia, where the agency aims to feed 2.5 million people in 2010. Read letter to New York Times

At the same time, the agency said it would not engage in any new work with three transport contractors named in a report from the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia, which alleged they were involved in arms-trading.

“The integrity of our organization is paramount and we will be reviewing and investigating each and every issue raised by this report,” said WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran. “WFP stands ready to offer full cooperation with any independent inquiry into its work in Somalia.”

Reach the hungry

The report by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia, due to be presented to the UN Security Council next week, alleges that contractors have diverted WFP food assistance away from the hungry.

Sheeran added that WFP lives every day with the dangerous realities of our Somalia operation and would do everything it could to reach the hungry in Somalia.

In January, WFP also suspended operations across southern Somalia in response to intimidation of its staff and the imposition of a number of unreasonable demands by armed groups that contravened WFP’s rules and regulations for delivering food for the hungry.

Conflict areas

Sheeran noted that vulnerabilities are always present in conflict areas, and many of the issues raised have already been addressed, while other points identified by the UN Monitoring Group conflicted with operational facts and information.

WFP is requesting the opportunity to correct factual issues and inform the group on actions already taken.

WFP aims to feed 2.5 million people in Somalia in 2010, including 625,000 in parts of the South where our operations are currently suspended.