Food distribution by World Vision has resumed in Baki district, Somaliland, after suspected cases of loss of food aid resulted in temporary suspension of the Baki food programme in December 2009. Investigations conducted by World Vision have also led to termination of five staff members based in Baki district.
The announcement to resume distribution was made during a meeting with three members of parliament from Baki and affected staff on Wednesday 24, in Hargeisa. “It is unfortunate that innocent people suffered during the suspension, but we had to carry out a fair and thorough investigation to ensure that food aid reaches the intended beneficiaries.” says Andrew Butali, the World Vision Somaliland Coordinator.
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Earlier, the Mayor of Baki had appealed for a quick solution to the problem noting that communities being affected by the current drought heavily relied on food distributed by World Vision. Most beneficiaries, who are pastoralists, had expressed their dilemma of whether to wait for the issue to be solved or move with their livestock in search of food and water for their livestock and themselves.
The government of Somaliland made a public appeal for urgent humanitarian assistance and livelihood support, to avert worsening humanitarian situation that is affecting all six regions. “In addition, assistance and support to urgent water trucking, construction, and rehabilitation of boreholes as well as rehabilitation and desilting of ‘Berkads’ and dams and supplies of necessary medications for affected human and livestock populations will be needed to avert breakout of epidemics. Nutrition Support to the weak will also be necessary.” added the statement.
The World Vision food programme which gets support from WFP operates in Awdal and Hargeisa regions. The nutrition component of the programme carries out screening of children less than five years of age where confirmed cases of malnutrition are enrolled in the supplementary feeding programme for four months. Their families also receive fortified rations to supplement their diet.
The Food programme which began in April 2009, has recorded a significant drop in Global Acute Malnutrition Rates (GAM) from 22% to 8%. Currently there are 7,882 children in the Supplementary Feeding Programme.