Somalia: UN Starts Delivery Of Desperately Needed Aid To Millions Of Starving People: UPDATED

17 Jul

NEWS UPDATE:
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A British official on Saturday called on rich European countries to do more to help some 10 million people who need aid because of a devastating drought in the Horn of Africa.

“We have seen some derisory offers from rich European governments so far,” said International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell.

He told reporters in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi that the British government will give $85 million to drought relief and he urged other nations to contribute more.

“It is a terrible thing in our world that a baby should die from lack of food,” he said, describing desperate Somali women and children who had arrived at refugee camps in Kenya on bruised and bleeding feet, having been forced to leave the bodies of family members behind them in the bush.

Mitchell did not mention the Somali government during his speech. A report earlier this year by a Somali government official said Arab donors gave tens of millions of dollars in cash over the past two years. The funds are unaccounted for, one reason donors will work through established charities and not the Somali government.

Tony Lake, the head of the U.N. Children’s Fund, said the situation will worsen across the region in coming months because there is no harvest to bring in. He said getting help to families now is crucial.

“All of these people live on the edge in any case,” he said, describing a ‘perfect storm’ of events that had caused the current crisis: drought, rising food and fuel prices, and ongoing conflict in Somalia.

Lake said he had visited communities in northern Kenya where people were living on one meal a day or less. He said one mother was feeding her child pounded nuts moistened with her own saliva because there was no other food and the water in the village well had gone bad.

On Saturday, the U.N. airlifted supplies to drought-ravaged southern Somalia, the first such airlift since Islamist rebels banned aid groups from areas under their control two years ago unless they paid substantial sums of money to the insurgency. They lifted the ban earlier this month and aid groups say the situation there is desperate.

Lake said that aid groups were working with communities to ensure supplies were not diverted.

“Corruption kills children. Period,” he said. Newly-arrived Somali refugees hold their babies as they wait in line to receive initial food aid, after registering as refugees at a reception center in Dagahaley Camp, outside Dadaab, Kenya, Tuesday, July 12, 2011. U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres said Sunday that drought-ridden Somalia is the "worst humanitarian disaster" in the world, after meeting with refugees who endured unspeakable hardship to reach the world's largest refugee camp in Dadaab. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Newly-arrived Somali refugees hold their babies as they wait in line to receive initial food aid, after registering …

CASTELGANDOLFO, Italy (AP)Pope Benedict XVI has urged the international community to move quickly to aid hundreds of thousands of people fleeing drought and famine in Somalia and elsewhere in the Horn of Africa.

He called it a “humanitarian catastrophe” that is “severely testing our brothers and sisters, among them many children.”

Benedict issued his appeal Sunday after giving his weekly blessing to pilgrims at his summer residence in Castelgandolfo, in the Alban Hills south of Rome.

Aid agencies say the east African drought is one of the worst in years in terms of the number of people affected.

Somalia faces drought 'catastrophe'

Somalia faces drought ‘catastrophe’

AFP via Yahoo! News

Pope urges help for Somalia

Pope Benedict XVI urged the international community on Sunday to move quickly to aid … Full Story »Pope urges help for Somalia

AP via Yahoo! News

Map of the Horn of Africa showing areas affected by drought

Map of the Horn of Africa showing areas …

——–
The first tranche of aid has been delivered to one of the drought affected areas of Somalia.
 
Somalia - 'Worst food crisis this century'

Somalia – ‘Worst food crisis this century’
 
World Report: East Africa drought now affecting millions
 
The United Nations has begun delivering aid to millions of starving people in Somalia.

It is the first airlift of aid to Somalia since al-Qaeda-linked militants, known as Al-Shabab, lifted a two year aid ban.

UNICEF airlifted food and medicine to the central town of Baidoa, more than 200km north-west of the capital, Mogadishu

The aid agency Oxfam has described the drought in East Africa as the worst food crisis so far this century.

Refugees have been trying to escape the worst affected area in southern Somalia, by travelling over the border into Ethiopia and south into Kenya.

Many refugees are also arriving in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

Horn of Africa facing humanitarian catastrophe

Africa drought ‘worst humanitarian disaster’

Somalian rebels lift aid ban after drought

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