“Our aid trucks are stuck in Jowhar since four weeks ago. On board there are food and seeds for the fields. We shall not resume the distribution of emergency aid until local authorities have ensured us that the distribution will not be slowed down and that we will have access to all those who need relief “, said Anna Shaaf, spokesman for the International Red Cross Committee (ICRC) in Somalia, who spoke to MISNA from Nairobi.
The ICRC has been carrying out regular assistance in Somalia since 1977, but after the severe drought that hit mainly the southern regions of the country ist has launched an emergency aid distribution process, spread over three months, to cover the shortfall of the arrival next harvest, in late January and mid-March, depending on the rains and the different regions.
“Despite countless logistical problems we were able to meet the needs of 1.1 million people now seriously at risk of hunger,” said Shaaf, adding that “by mid-December, the authorities of the Galgaduud and Middle Shabelle regions block the passage of trucks loaded with food for the people. ”
“We call on leaders of ‘al-Shabaab’ who control the territory in those areas to respect the agreements, as well as the work of our organization, which is ‘impartial’ in all scenarios of conflict in which it operates,” said the spokesperson.
Yesterday, meanwhile, Somali president, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, raised the need for more humanitarian aid in central and southern regions, stressing that the Kenyan and Ethiopian military advance in areas that represent the insurgency stringholds, ”raises the risk of reprisals and burdens upon on civilian populations.”