First UN Food Shipment to Mogadishu in More Than Decade

First UN Food Shipment to Mogadishu in More Than Decade

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swazilandchildAiming to alleviate suffering caused by drought, a ship chartered by the United Nations World Food Programme docked this weekend in Mogadishu – the agency’s first delivery to the Somali capital’s port in more than a decade. The ship docked at Mogadishu port on Sunday loaded with 3,300 metric tons of provisions…

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The ship docked at Mogadishu port on Sunday loaded with 3,300 metric tons of World Food Program provisions – 2,400 tons of cereals, 780 tons of lentils, 90 tons of highly nutritious blended food and 30 tons of vegetable oil. The food will be trucked to the drought stricken regions of Bay and Bakool in the south.

Rival claims by competing warlords closed Mogadishu port in February 1995 until the Union of Islamic Courts seized the capital in June. The port was reopened to shipping in August.

“Mogadishu is once again a key entry point for getting food stocks into the country. The reopening of the port makes it easier for us to reach more than one million people across the country who rely on our assistance,” said WFP Somalia Acting Country Director Leo van der Velden.

He said that using the country’s largest port should reduce unloading times and help ease logistical problems that have complicated WFP’s supply lines into Somalia over the past 10 years.

With Mogadishu closed to shipping, WFP-chartered ships had to unload their cargo at beach ports near the capital and at the port of Merka to the south. Cranes unloaded the food commodities from ships onto smaller barges, which then ferried them to the shallows, where porters waited to wade ashore with the bags.

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