EU executive says humanitarian aid payments for Somalia ‘temporarily suspended’

Hundreds of newly arrived Somalians wait for food at a new settlement in the capital Mogadishu on 20 July 2011. (Photo: EPA / ABUKAR ALBADRI)

The European Union's executive said on Tuesday that disbursements of humanitarian aid in Somalia were 'temporarily suspended' after a UN probe found widespread theft and misuse of support meant to avert famine.

Quoting senior EU officials, Reuters reported exclusively on Monday that the European Commission had temporarily suspended funding for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Somalia because of the UN findings.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the European Commission, Balazs Ujvari, confirmed the temporary suspension.

“The Commission has not asked for the suspension of humanitarian operations in Somalia: as per standard procedures, the ongoing operations have received a pre-financing of 80% and can still be implemented through this initial funding,” he said.

“Nevertheless, in view of the issues communicated by the report concerned, the Commission had to take some precautionary measures to safeguard the EU funds and therefore further disbursements are temporarily suspended until clarifications and reassurance are provided as regards the resolution of the identified issues.”

The UN investigation concluded that landowners, local authorities, members of the security forces and humanitarian workers were all involved in stealing aid intended for vulnerable people.

Two Somalis who reached the Muri camp in the capital Mogadishu after fleeing hunger and conflict in the countryside told Reuters local officials stripped them of the aid.

Donors boosted funding to Somalia last year as humanitarian officials warned of a looming famine due to the Horn of Africa’s worst drought in decades. As many as 43,000 people died last year as a result of the drought, researchers estimate.

The UN humanitarian aid budget for Somalia is envisaged at 72 million euros ($77 million), of which 10 million euros ($10.68 million) is earmarked for the WFP.

The United States is by far Somalia’s biggest humanitarian donor. Last year, it contributed more than half of the $2.2 billion of funding that went to the humanitarian response there.

Three months ago the WFP and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) suspended food aid to neighbouring Ethiopia in response to a widespread diversion of donations.

A USAID official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Monday the situations in Ethiopia and Somalia were different and the agency was not planning to pause food assistance in the latter.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska.)


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  • Hester Dobat says:

    The photograph accompanying this article was taken in 2011. How is it possible that after so many years, people still line up for handouts? Wars, drought or suppression and lack of education. Perhaps a lesson to learn for South Africa. The solid foundation of good education, not based on fostering loyal voters, and a clearly defined ideology that fosters selfreliance and accountability, are the cornerstones of progress. Just how far are we removed from chaos and destruction just as Somalia is. Our people are lining up in longer and longer queues for survival. The war in our country is not artillery. It is total laxidity, ignorance and corruption that has broken down every facility/oportunity that was left behind by predecessors for progress. The African continent, with all it’s unique beauty, just cannot hold it together. Despots, warmongers and corruption, seems to be the outcome of doing things the African way.

    • erik76 says:

      Looks like it is time to consider Gift of the Givers going in to lend a hand with proper aid distribution. Absolutely disgusting that aid is allowed to be abused like this.

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