Somalia: Red Cross forced to suspend food and seed aid (AllAfrica)

| January 23, 2012

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On Thursday, January 12, 2012, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced that food distribution to 1.1 million people in central and southern Somalia had been suspended. The main reason given was the continued obstruction of supply routes. The regions in question are largely controlled by the Islamist group Shebab.

In mid-December, 140 trucks of food were intercepted in areas controlled by Shehab. The ICRC is urging a quick release of the convoys, which carry food aid for 240,000 people.

The ICRC is working to restore supplies as quickly as possible. Patrick Vial is head of the ICRC delegation in Somalia. He says, “We are actively seeking the cooperation of local authorities to restore the conditions for a resumption of activities suspended as soon as possible.” ICRC’s deputy head of operations in East Africa, Benjamin Wahren, did not hide his concern: “The longer we wait, the more the food will deteriorate.”

Patrick Vial continues, “The suspension will remain valid until we have received assurance from the authorities controlling these areas that distribution can take place unhindered and reach everyone in need.”

The Red Cross is one of the few organizations distributing aid in the most inaccessible areas of southern Somalia. Since October last year, they have distributed food to more than 1.1 million people and provided seeds and agricultural support to more than 100,000 farmers.

For further news, visit:
-“UN Aid Coordinator: Somalia Still in Crisis”

-“Somalia: ICRC temporarily suspends distributions of food and seed”

-“Somalia Islamists force ICRC food aid suspension”