Delays In Procuring Food Aid, Funding Hampering Relief Efforts In Somalia, Aid Agencies Say

“Famine relief efforts in Somalia are being hampered as much by delays in procuring food aid and raising funds as by difficulties in accessing Islamist-controlled areas, according to humanitarian organizations working there,” the Guardian reports. Staff from several aid agencies working within al-Shabab-controlled areas “say the major problem in responding to the crisis is the time it is taking to buy food abroad and to transport it to the worst-hit areas,” the newspaper writes (Rice, 8/4).

VOA News reports on the “daunting” task of coordinating the logistics of food aid shipments, which are coming into Kenya and Somalia on planes, trucks and boats. But aid deliveries can take more than one month to reach the countries from their origins, the news service notes (Majtenyi, 8/4).

In addition, the impact of the famine in Somalia was discussed at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs on Wednesday. Nancy Lindborg, assistant administrator in the USAID’s Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, said “that the U.S. estimates that more than 29,000 children under the age of five have died in the past 90 days” in southern Somalia, the Associated Press reports (Straziuso, 8/4). Subcommittee Chair Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) called on “the international community to join the United States in providing … critical aid in the near term in order to save lives,” the Middletown Transcript writes (Olsen, 8/4).