The 9-truck convoy drove west of Mogadishu and unloaded a total of 320 metric tons of food at six sites where tens of thousands of displaced people are sheltering on roadsides. WFP's partner non-governmental organisations immediately began distributing the food to hungry families.
The distributions got the green light from the Transitional Federal Government at a meeting with UN officials on Monday. The TFG said it would cooperate with efforts by UN agencies and NGOs to assist an estimated 340,000 people driven out of Mogadishu by fighting since the start of February.
"WFP is now ready to reach some of the people living in terrible conditions after escaping from Mogadishu," said WFP Country Director Peter Goossens. "I hope that this means humanitarian assistance can now urgently be brought to all those in need."
"Many of these people fled for their lives with just about nothing and are living in very harsh conditions in heavy rain. They urgently need all our assistance now. With the fighting continuing in Mogadishu, they simply cannot return home," Goossens said.
The 320 tons of maize, nutritious corn-soya blend and vegetable oil is enough food to feed 32,000 people for two weeks. But the exact number who received the WFP food would only be known after the distributions and might be greater if smaller rations were given out.
WFP assists more than a quarter of a million people each month in Somalia in areas where there are critical food shortages, but the fighting in Mogadishu, general insecurity, threats against its staff and other obstacles in recent weeks hampered deliveries to the newly displaced.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: each year, we give food to an average of 90 million poor people to meet their nutritional needs, including 58 million hungry children, in at least 80 of the world's poorest countries. WFP -- We Feed People.
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