The United Nations food Programme (WFP) has begun to deliver emergency aid to the people of Somalia. The aid comes in the form of airlift food supplies to the area. The impoverished people of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are experiencing the worst famine since the 1980’s. Millions are left stranded, searching for food. Tens of thousands of children and babies will have died before the supplies can reach them. An estimated 3.5 million people may die in the war ravaged, parched areas of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Refugee camps have been set up by the AU to accommodate those fleeing from Kenya and Ethiopia into Somalia. Other camps in Ethiopia have been set up to help those across the border. Somali Foreign Minister Mohamed Ibrahim has complained that “the UN is being too slow with the delivery of the food.” Some reports indicated that the drought and food shortage were predicted last year and that emergency services should have been assembled before the region reached crisis stage. (Source: BBC)
An African Union official stated that the first airdrops would land in Mogadishu today. The food supplements were expected on Tuesday, yet were delayed. Saudi Arabia has pledged $50 million to the WFP to buy food for the Somalis, after criticism that the nations of East Africa were not doing their part to alleviate the suffering in the Somalia.
Ten tons of nutritional supplements for children (Source: BBC) has landed in the Capital city of Mogadishu.McDonough, spokeswoman for the WFP, stated; “the 10 tons of Plumpy’nut, a peanut-based high in protein and energy, would be enough to treat 3500 malnourished children for one month.” There are millions in need of food, water and medical care in the arid regions.
Deliveries of the supplemental food were to begin arriving in Tuesday, but were delayed by red tape. The BBC’s East Africa correspondent Will Ross, stated that this amount if merely a drop in the bucket. The UN declared the southern areas of Somalia, a famine, last week. More flights are planned, yet getting the food to those who need it, always has complications.
Dolo Ado, Ethiopia is said to also receive airlifted supplies. Tens of thousands of refugees have fled areas controlled by al-Shabab to Mogadishu, Kenya and Ethiopia in search of assistance. (Source: BBC). Ninety-two thousand AU peacekeepers are stationed in Mogadishu to see that the food source is delivered to those in need. More airlifts are expected soon. Will it be too little too late?