Somalia

Despite continued insecurity, more UN relief flows to Somalia

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A second round of food distribution for some 32,000 people displaced by violence in Somalia has begun despite continuing volatility, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today.

According to the agency, the new distributions began yesterday in three areas of the country, which has not had a working Government in 16 years and recently saw heavy fighting envelope the capital, Mogadishu.

As there are problems finding ships to move food to the East African country, a $2.9 million grant from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to WFP is allowing the rehabilitation of an airstrip and is paying for air transport of relief items and cost-reduced passenger flights.

In addition, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) reports that some 650 families in Baidoa recently received relief kits, with another 6,000 kits targeted to those in need in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that some 90,000 people displaced by the latest violence have returned to the Mogadishu.

According to UN figures, 340,000 people, roughly one-third of the capital's population, fled the hostilities in Mogadishu since February, while at least 1,000 have sustained injuries.