How the UN World Food Programme is Helping the Forgotten People in Somalia
When the UN World Food Programme (WFP) first took up work in Somalia in 1967, it offered school lunch programs and fostered sustainable agriculture. In the past years, Somalia has been the setting of persistent violence, political instability and economic and climatic shocks. Far too often, the consequences have been hunger and malnutrition. In 2011, the country last managed to recover from a famine that had claimed over 250,000 lives. But the situation is currently escalating again: Due to the drought at the Horn of Africa, nearly 3 million Somalis are currently suffering severe hunger and urgently require humanitarian aid. Another 3.3 million people require assistance to prevent the famine from spreading to them as well.
The WFP expanded its aid program in 2016 and supports people in need with school lunch programs, emergency food rations and specialized nutrition programs for toddlers as well as for pregnant and nursing mothers. Wherever the markets are still intact and the prices remain stable, the WFP uses electronic cash cards to buy food for affected families from local supermarkets. In addition, the WFP provides warm meals for displaced families in shelters, for example in the capital Mogadishu. In order to reach people cut off from help over land routes that have become too dangerous, isolated communities receive aid by air. The WFP is working around the clock to prevent a famine, and in the next six months is planning to reach about 2.2 million people a month with vital nutritional aid.