The Office for Supervising the Affairs of Foreign Agencies of Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen, the militant Islamist group which largely controls the southern part of Somalia, has decided to end the humanitarian assistance provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the areas under their administration (February 2).
Over the past twenty years, the population has been repeatedly affected by the combined effects of armed conflict and severe drought. When the humanitarian situation dramatically worsened in the first half of 2011, the ICRC decided to launch an emergency drought response operation. Since then, the organization has distributed food rations to more than a million people and has provided agricultural support for over 100,000 farmers. "The food distributions helped address severe malnutrition among the population" Daniel Duvillard, ICRC's head of operations for East Africa, reported.
The ICRC is one of the few organizations that have been providing humanitarian aid in those parts of Somalia. "Under the agreement, we provided more than 1.2 million people living in central and southern Somalia with one-month food rations between June and December 2011," Daniel Duvillard added.
The local authorities in central and southern Somalia started to block food deliveries in mid-December 2011. Since then, the ICRC has tried to restore suitable conditions for emergency relief operations but to date it remains unable to operate.
(Photo © DR)