Getting Food Off the Shelves and Into Somali IDPs’ Bellies

In Mogadishu, store shelves are full of food but the bellies of civilians are not. An article in IRN today reported that the Somali government has asked the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to release food stocks in Mogadishu for distribution to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are chronically hungry.

Somalia is facing a serious humanitarian crisis. Forty-two percent of Somalia’s population—an estimated 3.2 million people—is in need of emergency humanitarian assistance and the situation has been severely aggravated by political violence. In and around Mogadishu, two Islamist groups have been fighting government troops and African Union peacekeepers, displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians. In the past few months, the government has been reportedly planning an offensive against the insurgents, but this is yet to happen.

While the WFP is said to be providing daily hot meals to 80,000 people—mainly women and children—at locations across Mogadishu, WFP’s spokesperson Peter Smerdon isn’t so sure that distributing food from store shelves is the best idea. Check out this article to learn why.