The UN said Monday it will investigate the possible theft of food supplies sent to Somalia to offset the devastating famine. The UN's World Food Programme said it will "suspend any parties found responsible" working within the agency.
AFP - The United Nations is investigating possible theft of food from supplies shipped to Somalia to counter the devastating famine that has killed tens of thousands, a spokesman said Monday.
The UN's World Food Programme will "suspend any parties found responsible" working within the agency, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters.
The UN has not given details of how much food has been diverted. But the announcement of the investigation came on the day that the UN Security Council made an urgent call for governments to respond to a 2.4-billion-dollar UN appeal to counter the drought in East Africa.
More than 12.4 million are at risk from starvation, according to the UN's emergency relief coordination agency.
"In response to reports of food aid being stolen, the World Food Programme says that through its monitoring systems, possible theft of food has been uncovered and is being investigated," Haq told a briefing.
"The World Food Programme adds that it will investigate all alleged instances and suspend any parties found responsible."
The agency has "rigorous monitoring and controls" in Somalia, but "due to security dangers and restrictions, humanitarian supply lines remain highly vulnerable to looting, attack and diversion by armed groups," Haq said.
The 15-member Security Council expressed "serious concern" in a statement that the UN's 2.4-billion-dollar famine appeal remains less than half-funded.
UN agencies are struggling to get aid to parts of Somalia that are controlled by Islamist insurgents and the council warned "all parties and armed groups to ensure full, safe and unhindered access for the timely delivery of humanitarian aid."
Amid rising concerns about Somalia's future with the famine adding to a crippling insurgency, the Security Council gave "strong" backing to UN efforts to help the transitional government battling to establish its authority.
Somalia political groups -- but not the insurgents -- are to meet next month to set out a government plan for the next 12 months with set targets for improving the performance of transitional federal institutions (TFIs).
"The members of the Security Council noted that future support to the TFIs would be contingent upon completion of the tasks in the roadmap," said the statement.
Somalia has had no effective government since the downfall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.
In Pictures: Famine in East Africa
Villagers in Kaikor (Turkana district, Northern Kenya) assist a crisis meeting to try and address the food crisis, most of them are severely malnourished. Photo: James Andre.
Nakwai Lojore lost his wife 4 days ago, he says he will endure the same fate if no one helps him. The drought has claimed 12 lives in the village of Kaikor over the past two weeks. Photo: James Andre.
Most of the children in the village are suffering from distended bellies, a sign of severe malnutrition. Photo: James Andre.
The Turkana are a pastoralist ethnic group that rely on cattle for their livelihoods, most of the livestock has been wiped out by the drought. Photo: James Andre.
Children and the elderly are suffering the most in this latest famine in East Africa. Photo: James Andre.
Amuth Logiel walked for three days with her two children from the village of Kaitede in the mountains. Her other children died of starvation and so she decided to walk to the village of Loitanitin search of food. Photo: James Andre.
Nabosatuko Ebenyo lives in the village of Loitanit. Food aid has not reached her village, so she and her children are surviving on wild berries and handouts from her neighbors. Photo: James Andre.
A memorial for 13 people killed by bandits on 5th July 2011. The bandits prey on ranchers' livestock. In this instance, the thieves made off with 200 animals and fled across the border to Ethiopia. Photo: James Andre.
The combination of the drought and the threat of violence have prompted thousands of villagers to flee their homes, leaving behind a lifeless, desolate landscape. Photo: James Andre.
Date created : 2011-08-16