Food Aid and Somalia's Needy: A Six-point Response to the Monitoring Group's Report

In a recent report by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia, it was alleged that up to one half of Somali food aid is diverted from the needy. Having looked at the report and the claims made about food aid in Somalia, here's our side of the story in 6 points.

1) The report recommends an independent review of the WFP Somalia country office’s work, with authority to investigate fully and to make recommendations for action.

WFP welcomes any independent investigation into the findings of the Somalia Monitoring Group report.

2) The report says up to one half of Somali food aid was diverted from the needy.

The report points to interviews with undisclosed sources as alleging that up half of WFP food assistance in Somalia is diverted but it does not provide any evidence to back up this major allegation.
To assist an investigation, the Monitoring Group should provide any evidence in its possession that food aid was diverted.

3) The report says three contractors in Somalia received 80 per cent of WFP business involving the transportation of food aid, amounting to US$200 million in 2009.

In 2009, WFP payments to all transport contractors totalled US$62 million, not US$200 million. Work by the three most significant transport contractors in Somalia amounted to US$41.4 million, 66 per cent of the total payments – not 80 per cent as stated in the report. WFP already took steps in 2009 to widen its pool of contractors and encourage competition.

4) The report says that one of these 3 contractors is owned by the Adaani family, which it says has financed armed groups.

WFP as an impartial and non-political UN humanitarian agency aims to feed the poorest and most vulnerable people in Somalia and does not align its operations with particular armed groups or criminal activities. As we review the content of the UN Somalia Monitoring Group report, WFP will not engage in any new work with Adaani and the other two transport contractors named in the report.

5) The report describes a looting incident in the northern Mogadishu livestock market that led to the diversion of 1,229 metric tons of food aid on 25 September 2008.

WFP has seen no evidence to suggest that this was not a genuine looting incident. WFP suffered no loss because the food that was lost was replaced by the transporter.

6) The report mentions that during an upsurge in conflict in June 2009, there was evidence of food aid being diverted from a contractor’s warehouse in the Karaan district of northern Mogadishu and delivered to traders in Bakhara market.

WFP was aware at the time of an allegation that food had been looted but could find no evidence of this. WFP has accounted for all the food that was moved out of the Karaan warehouses by all transporters during that time. WFP welcomes evidence to the contrary.