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Somalia: Food

Volume 696: debated on Wednesday 14 November 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they are taking to provide assistance to the Lower and Middle Shabelle regions of Somalia amid reports that about 10,000 children are severely malnourished and at risk of death as food prices have increased sharply and the ongoing conflict there has hindered access to those affected. [HL53]

The UK has this year made £8.6 million in new commitments to humanitarian operations in Somalia. This includes £600,000 to the UNICEF nutrition programme in southern Somalia, including in the Shabelle regions, and £466,000 to Médecins du Monde for health and nutrition interventions in Lower Shabelle.

Last week, DfID’s regional humanitarian adviser visited the Lower Shabelle region to assess the situation first hand and agrees with the UN estimates that more than 10,000 children require treatment for acute malnutrition. DfID officials were also part of joint UN/Donor meetings with President Yusuf and other Somali leaders at which impediments to the delivery of humanitarian assistance were discussed. Discussions continue with the Transitional Federal Government and other parties to reduce access problems.

DfID has also committed £l million to the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (UN OCHA) Humanitarian Response Fund and £3.5 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Some of this funding will be used to address the needs of malnourished children in Middle and Lower Shabelle.