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WFP Investigating Fraud Allegations In Somalia; U.N., Oxfam Call For Increased Assistance

The World Food Programme (WFP) does not plan “to reduce aid to Somalia following allegations that international food shipments there are being diverted,” the Associated Press reports. WFP spokesperson Christiane Berthiaume “told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday that the WFP investigation so far has no evidence of a large-scale fraud scheme,” the news agency writes (8/16). Noting it has “strong controls … in place” in Somalia, “WFP said it was ‘confident the vast majority of humanitarian food is reaching starving people in Mogadishu,’ adding that AP reports of ‘thousands’ of bags of stolen food would equal less than 1 percent of one month’s distribution for Somalia,” the Associated Press writes in another article (Houreld, 8/15).

Following a three-day tour of refugee camps in Somalia and Kenya, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos “call[ed] on the world to scale up efforts to help save millions of lives,” Xinhua reports (Omar, 8/15). The British group Oxfam said on Monday it has launched the “Africans Act 4 Africa” initiative to urge Africans and their governments to “make more substantial donations to the international relief effort,” the Associated Press notes (Odula, 8/15).

New York-based Human Rights Watch released a report on Monday saying that “warring parties in Somalia should ease rather than thwart the humanitarian effort to deal with drought and famine,” the Guardian writes (Tran, 8/15). In addition, a new report from the World Bank said that food “[s]hortages and near-historic prices for staples such as corn, wheat and sugar have magnified the impact of the drought,” according to another Guardian article (Goldenberg, 8/16).

The Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” reports on how “Djibouti has received scant attention in media coverage of the current crisis in the Horn of Africa.” The country’s “fourth consecutive year of drought has led to massive loss of livestock, the destruction of crops and increased malnutrition,” the blog writes (Tran, 8/16).

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