Somalia: Food Distributions Continue Despite Security Concerns

Following the killings of two WFP staff in southern Somalia earlier this year, WFP continues to seek security commitments from local administrations and armed groups in order to ensure that staff are not targeted. Meanwhile, food distributions continue: WFP reached 2.3 million people in Somalia in April.

By Lamis Anas

BIYOULE VILLAGE -- Under a blazing sun, thousands of women, men and children are collecting food from WFP here in the Tiyeglow district of southern Somalia. Young and old queue with metal cans in their hands to be filled with maze and beans. Some come with donkey carts to carry home their food rations.

Habibo Ibrahim Adan, 41 and the mother of six children, says that she has received WFP food for the last three months. She says she is a farmer, but her land is parched by drought so she and her family rely entirely on the food assistance from WFP to survive.

Standing next to her family’s rations, she says: “I hope we will continue receiving food as life will be very difficult without it. I urge the authorities to continue doing a good job in maintaining peace.”

Feed children for a month

“Today I received 10 kilogrammes of beans, 10 kilogrammes of porridge and a container of cooking oil. This food is enough to feed my children for one month,” she says.

Tiyeglow district is suffering from three consecutive crop failures because of poor rains. A total of 40,000 people receive monthly food rations through general food distributions and another 7,500 people receive food because their families have a malnourished child. The family ration is designed to ensure that the family doesn’t eat the special foods that the malnourished child needs to recover.

"High malnutrition"

“This area suffers from high malnutrition rates and a large influx of displaced people. WFP is feeding around 50% of the population and giving supplementary feeding to malnourished children and their families,” says Ulrik Pedersen, head of the main WFP office in southern Somalia.

Pedersen says that in seeking security commitments, WFP staff have held meetings with local administrations in areas including Tieglow and the results were very positive. “They signed the letter of support and commitment of providing security to our staff. They appreciate the support from WFP and they are ready to work closely with us,” he adds.