Geneva/Nairobi (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) regrets the decision of the Office for Supervising the Affairs of Foreign Agencies of the Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen to terminate the agreement under which the ICRC was allowed to deliver emergency food aid in Al-Shabaab administered areas 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," said Daniel Duvillard, the ICRC's head of operations for East Africa. "The food distributions helped address severe malnutrition among the population."
Despite adverse conditions faced by the ICRC during this emergency operation, the organization succeeded in distributing more than 17,000 tonnes of rice, beans and oil directly to the neediest people in more than 1,600 different places. As a result of heat, moisture and exposure to heavy rain, six per cent of the food intended for distribution (nearly 1,000 tonnes of beans) was found to have deteriorated. "Those beans were either withdrawn by the ICRC or destroyed by the Al-Shabaab authorities," said Mr Duvillard. "No food suspected to be unfit for human consumption was distributed to aid recipients in Somalia."
In the current circumstances, the ICRC remains unable to retrieve a food consignment intended for distribution to 240,000 people in the Middle Shabelle and Galgaduud regions that has been blocked by the Al-Shabaab authorities in Jowhar. This situation led the ICRC to suspend its food distributions in mid-January.
The ICRC remains fully committed to helping Somalis overcome recurrent humanitarian crises, improve their livelihoods and enhance their access to health care, as it has done for the past 30 years.