- The UN’s food agency has launched an investigation into reports alleging that Somali aid targeted to disadvantaged societies have been diverted and sold in the open market in Somalia.
Reports said stashes of maize, wheat and cooking oil bearing the UN World Food Programme (WFP) logo were in sale in more than 15 shops in Somalia’ s market in the capital Mogadishu.
The local traders have reportedly told officials that the goods are freely available at warehouses.
The WFP has also conceded that the gatekeepers may have siphon off aid after it reaches the camps, but however rejects claims that the agency staff are party to corruption.
WFP also said it takes any allegation of food diversion extremely seriously, vowing to investigate all allegations surrounding the aid scandal in the Horn of Africa state.
About 45,000 tonnes of WFP food are shipped to Somalia from Kenya every month, according to reports.
The food agency said that over a million people have been driven from their homes by fighting, including 117,000 people that have fled from Mogadishu's fighting in the last month.
One in three Somali children are classified by the UN as malnourished. UN officials claim that the civil war and the worst drought in a decade have created near-famine conditions, with Somalia ranking alongside Darfur as the worst humanitarian emergency anywhere in the world.
The WFP is tasked with feeding 3.5 million Somalis almost half the entire population.
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