Aid flights brave war-torn Somalia

2011-08-01 11:43

Mogadishu - Aid groups ramped up operations on Monday to help millions of drought-stricken people in the Horn of Africa, with the UN World Food Programme expanding its airlifts of emergency food supplies.

The WFP last week begun airlifting peanut-based paste for malnourished children in the Mogadishu and widened the distribution to Doolow in the south of Somalia.

"Another aircraft arrived today, the sixth flight since the airlift began last Wednesday - the airlift is an ongoing operation and will continue," said WFP spokesperson David Orr, speaking from the war-torn Somali capital.

"That brings the total amount delivered into Mogadishu to over 80 tons of specialised highly nutritious food for malnourished children."

About 12 million people are affected by the devastating drought across the Horn of Africa, the worst to hit the region in decades.

The UN has declared a famine in two regions of southern Somalia but the effects have been felt more widely across the country, as well as in parts of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

Supplies have been delivered through local partners in Mogadishu, Orr said, with supplies for 80 000 children for a month so far been distributed.

However, recent heavy fighting between the African Union forces and the Islamist Shabaab insurgents in the Somali capital has raised fears that aid distribution could be hampered.

Cases of measles

Tens of thousands of Somalis have fled to Mogadishu from elsewhere in the country. Relentless conflict and the drought has left millions of Somalis in need of emergency humanitarian aid.

Malnutrition rates in Somalia are currently the highest in the world, while thousands more are fleeing daily to seek refuge in neighbouring Ethiopia and Kenya, and emergency relief efforts continue elsewhere in the regions.

"WFP have also opened an airbridge into Doloow in southern Somalia, delivering high energy biscuits and other emergency supplies," Orr added.

"We are also continuing with the larger shipments of food by sea to Mogadishu, but this takes longer," said Orr.

Meanwhile the UN children agency Unicef launched a mass vaccination campaign for polio and measles in the world's biggest refugee camp, the Dadaab complex in eastern Kenya, home to some 380 000 largely Somali refugees.

"Teams are going from tent to tent, to make sure all children aged between six months and five years are given life-saving vaccines," said Melissa Corkum, a Unicef spokesperson.

"There are cases of measles in the camp as children are coming from Somalia, where immunisation is very low."

  • Buic - 2011-08-01 11:46

    what a bunch of wankers

      jowza - 2011-08-01 12:41

      you seem to know a lot about wankers

  • Ryan Tunney - 2011-08-01 11:52

    Why is the world wasting it's time again saving this criminal nation? In the end they turn around and give the West the finger anyway. Let them rot in their own hell. The west owes these idiots nothing.

      Mesfin Habtewold - 2011-08-01 12:32

      Dear Ryan Absoluely right. They are idiots who do not appreciate anything good done for them. They have to be left alone.

  • fraidycat - 2011-08-01 11:54

    Unfortuntaely, we are now beginning to see what effect overpopulation can have on a country when natural disasters strike - and again the evil west and its colonialists must help again. Islamists? No wonder so many ppl are against Islam - look at what they are doing to these hopeless ppl. You call yourselves Muslims, at the beginning of Ramadan???

      Ryan Tunney - 2011-08-01 11:58

      The world is overpopulated and the west keeps giving aid to these useless rogue nations to save their asses. Dear west, these people are not your problem so to all the "sore hearts" that keep donating money and aid to this useless continent and it's people, please stop it now. They've done nothing for themselves so why are you saving their sorry asses the whole time?

      world-weary - 2011-08-01 12:18

      This is not about islam or alshabaab - famine was not caused by politics and the main reason that these countries cannot produce enough or any crop for that sake is because they have been exploited by the ex colonisers years ago already. its pay back time unfortunately. AND no one is forcing the 'west' to provide aid - i say is conscience - which you people dont seem to have!!

      Dominic - 2011-08-01 12:39

      Any excuse to whine about Africa doing nothing to help itself. It's not only the West which is helping. It's the UN. Islamic countries (particularly the Arab ones) have been sending aid. The famine is primarily due to drought (the worst in decades). Finally I can guarantee that not one of these self-righteous whiners has lifted a finger to help.

  • Kareltjie Boshoff - 2011-08-01 12:05

    The UN have been launching airlifts for emergency food supplies since Wednesday,with emergency operations desperately trying to save millions from starvation! The AU is launching...a commitee to see how much will be done by African the near future...after the commitee meeting that should be organised...somewhere soon maybe...when they have an opening in their schedule, or whatever...maybe next Monday....uhm...Damn those evil imperialist scum, getting in the way of African solutions!

      Ryan Tunney - 2011-08-01 13:20

      And once they've saved millions from starvation the benefit of this will be exactly what to mankind?? More 419 scams? More pirates hijacking ships for ransom money? More useless Africans ariving on the shores of Europe? Please, leave these people to meet their fate. The world doesn't need them!

  • PropheticRHYME - 2011-08-01 12:14

    this is devastating... i can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to be on the other side of this article. I guess in the end, we're all human, and politics aside, nature insists that you do something. this is real :(

  • Chaka02 - 2011-08-01 12:31

    world-weary, you miss the point completely, it is not a question of conscience , Somalia is for 20 years now in a arm struggle, that is why they cannot produce enough food, the question must be asked to the AU/OAU what have they done in this 20 years to put stop to this inhumane situation . Nothing, but they are very fast to point fingers with the problems in Libya but can further do nothing in Africa but talk and talk.

      Kareltjie Boshoff - 2011-08-01 12:40

      It's just an easier load off the lazy mind to blame "the West". Thinking of solutions or figuring out why Africa can not take care of itself...slightly more difficult. By the time the AU 'pledge-summit' is done a million Africans would have starved to death. Politics trump human lives every time.

      jowza - 2011-08-01 12:52

      who is blaming the west?

  • John - 2011-08-01 12:35

    While it is sad to see children suffer - the root cause of this problem is overpopulation. When will they limit the number of children that each adult can have ? If they cant stop breeding, then money should rather be spent on an infertility program - or else we will continue every year with the same problem. And the west can hardly afford to spend anymore money on them, they are mostly all in debt from all this charity work.

      jowza - 2011-08-01 12:41

      the west is in debt becuause of mismanagement and wars that they wage.dont blame charity work

  • Aisha Kera - 2011-08-01 12:38

    Fraidycat, the muslims haven't done this to Somalia, its a result of Nature. There are innocent babies dying here, and you're saying it's a problem that someones offering to help?? please visit and see what the muslims are doing for the people of Somalia!!

      Dominic - 2011-08-01 12:46

      Thank you Aisha. The first constructive comment here.

      Dominic - 2011-08-01 12:55

      Aisha left out an 's' for Please people if we consider ourselves African (whether black or white); here's our chance to help.

  • ProudofPink - 2011-08-01 14:57

    Let nature take it's course.

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