See also:
20.01.2010 - Tighten controls on military assistance to Somalia - AI
08.01.2010 - UN will not abandon Somalia
09.12.2009 - Somalis faces humanitarian crisis
25.11.2009 - WFP told to buy local agricultural produce
17.11.2009 - Suspected Somali pirates seize Korean tanker
16.11.2009 - Ethiopia govt dismisses capture claims
11.11.2009 - Djibouti forcibly repatriates Somali asylum seekers
21.10.2009 - Displaced Somalis failed international community, UN rights expert

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WFP pulls out of Southern Somalia

afrol News, 5 January - The World Food Programme (WFP) has announced an indefinite suspension of its operations in Southern Somalia due to increasing security concerns.

Rising threats and attacks on humanitarian operations, as well as the imposition of a string of unacceptable demands from armed groups, have made it virtually impossible for the World Food Programme (WFP) to continue reaching up to one million people in need in southern Somalia, the agency has said in a statement today.

The statement said the WFP's humanitarian operations in southern Somalia have been under escalating attacks from armed groups, leading to this partial suspension of humanitarian food distributions in much of southern Somalia.

WFP is deeply concerned about rising hunger and suffering among the most vulnerable due to these unprecedented and inhumane attacks on purely humanitarian operations, said the statement, adding that the agency is continuing to provide life saving food distributions in the rest of the country, including the capital, Mogadishu, reaching more than two-thirds of the hungry it has been targeting - or 1.8 million people.

The WFP statement also said in addition, resources and relief workers are being re-deployed from southern areas in the event that people start moving away from areas where food distributions have been suspended.

WFP is an impartial, non-political humanitarian agency that has been working in partnership with the people of Somalia for more than 40 years, providing assistance to the poorest of the poor throughout Somalias years of conflict and before. The recent pressures on our work from armed groups in southern Somalia are impeding our humanitarian mandate, said the statement, further explained that supplies and staff in the affected areas have been moved to more safer places.

WFP is working closely with its partners to pre-position supplies and prepare to provide assistance to any population movements either within Somalia, or across the country's borders into neighbouring countries. WFPs offices in Wajid, Buale, Garbahare, Afmadow, Jilib and Belet Weyne in southern Somalia are temporarily closed, and food supplies and equipment have been moved to safer areas in order to ensure that food assistance continues to reach as many vulnerable people as possible, the statement said.

The agency has also noted as a concern that even in good years, Somalia is only able to meet 40 percent of the food needs of its population through internal production, further adding that in the last five years, local production has averaged only about 30 percent of food needs in Somalia. WFPs operation in Somalia is fully funded in the coming months to reach all the projected beneficiaries.

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