NAIROBI (Somalilandpress) — According to Kenya State House governmental website, President Mwai Kibaki has today urged the World Food Programme (WFP) to reconsider its decision to suspend food relief distribution to Somalia.

The president noted that continued denial of relief food to Somalia was exerting more pressure on Kenya which is already hosting thousands of refugees.

The head of state made the remarks when he met and held discussions with the country director of the World Food Programme (Kenya) Mr Burkard Oberle and WFP goodwill Ambassador Her Royal Highness (HRH) Princess Haya Bint Al-Husayn of Dubai who paid him a courtesy call.

During the talks, President Kibaki expressed the government’s appreciation to the world food programme and other relief agencies for the commendable humanitarian work undertaken in the country and the region over the years.

The president, while recognizing the immense impact of WFP humanitarian activities in the country, appealed to the UN body to consider extending assistance to the floods victims.

“We appreciate the commendable work undertaken by the WFP in Kenya and the region over the years. Your recent international appeal funds to feed over four million children are well recognized. This will augment government efforts to carry out the school feeding programme and hence encourage more enrolment,” President Kibaki said.

The head of state outlined the various measures the government was spearheading to address exacerbating factors contributing to food shortages in the country.

Other measures undertaken by the government to address the food crisis include subsidizing purchase and distribution of free seed to farmers and harnessing the irrigation potential in the country.
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The head of state attributed the low level of the strategic grain reserves stock which currently stand at 2.2 million to poor maize harvest in the last few seasons due to inadequate rainfall.

HRH Princess Haya Bint Al-Husayn is the first lady of Dubai and UN WFP goodwill ambassador for hunger, poverty and Peace.

Princess Haya and the country director in response said WFP would consider Proposals made by President Kibaki in relation to Somalia and devastating floods which have claimed lives in the country.

The talks were attended by the Assistant Minister for Special Programmes Mohamud Ali, Head of Public Service Amb Francis Muthaura, and Special Programmes Permanent Secretary Ali Daud among other government and WFP officials.

WFP suspended humanitarian operations in southern Somalia after they said their operations came under direct threats and attacks from various armed groups and was not possible for them to reach more than one million needy people in the south of the country.

By: Abdinasir Mohamed

Source: Somalilandpress, 10 January 2010