See also:
» 11.03.2010 - UN confirms Somalia food aid corruption
» 08.01.2010 - UN will not abandon Somalia
» 05.01.2010 - WFP pulls out of Southern Somalia
» 09.12.2009 - Somalis faces humanitarian crisis
» 25.11.2009 - WFP told to buy local agricultural produce
» 17.07.2009 - Aid critical in Somalia, UN
» 17.06.2009 - UN probes stolen aid in Somalia
» 15.12.2008 - UN hails EU support to curb piracy on food aid

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Canadian ship to escort food aid to Somalia

afrol News, 7 August - A Canadian navy frigate is to be deployed off Somali coast to protect United Nation World Food Programme (WFP) ships ferrying food aid against pirate attacks.

According to Canada's defence minister, a vessel would be diverted from a NATO mission in Mediterranean, to escort WFP ships traveling into Somali ports.

WFP spokesman in East Africa, Peter Smerdon, told media that Canadian warship is expected in Somalia in the next 10 days.

Mr Smerdon said that plans are now being made to ship grain from South Africa to Somalia.

In June, UN Security Council voted to allow countries to send warships into Somalia's waters to tackle piracy.

WFP warned that month that it might have to cut food aid to Somalia after French, Danish and Dutch frigates finished their escort duties.

MCS Ville de Quebec, at request of UN WFP and UN International Maritime Organisation, has been dispatched "to ensure their safe arrival at designated ports," a statement from Canadian defence ministry said.

"Food supplies are urgently needed in Somalia but deteriorating security has made delivery difficult by land and sea. Canada is stepping up to the plate," the statement noted.

It further said formal authorisation from Somalia's transitional government to enter its territorial waters over "the next few weeks" is still being sought.

Somalia has been beset by instability and insecurity for almost 20 years and is further affected by regional droughts and increasing world food prices.

About 2.5 million Somalis depend on food aid, most of which is transported by sea.

The seas off Somalia have some of highest rates of piracy in the world.

Pirates have attacked at least 26 ships off Somalia so far this year, compared with 31 attacks in the whole of 2007.

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