December 9, 2023

EU confirms temporary suspension of food aid to Somalia following UN theft investigation 

The European Union (EU) has confirmed its suspension of payments to the World Food Programme (WFP) for deliveries of humanitarian aid to Somalia.

A spokesman for the European Commission, Balazs Ujvari, disclosed that the temporary suspension of aid is needed to safeguard EU funds.

“The commission has not asked for the suspension of humanitarian operations in Somalia. As per standard procedures, the ongoing operations have received a pre-financing of 80% and can still be implemented through this initial funding,” he said.

“Nevertheless, in view of the issues communicated by the report concerned, the commission had to take some precautionary measures to safeguard the EU funds, and therefore further disbursements are temporarily suspended until clarifications and reassurance are provided as regards to the resolution of the identified issues.”

A UN probe has revealed widespread theft of aid meant for needy Somalis, involving local politicians, members of the security forces, and humanitarian personnel.

The European Union spent more than $7 million (£5.6 million) on WFP humanitarian aid in Somalia last year.

In its part, the US agency for international development says it’s not currently considering a similar move in Somalia despite the UN report of widespread aid theft.

Meanwhile, the Somalia Disaster Management Office, which coordinates the government’s humanitarian response, said in a statement pledged to investigate the U.N. report’s findings, while adding that current aid delivery systems operate “outside of the government channels”.

Recall that the WFP and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) suspended food aid to neighboring Ethiopia in response to the widespread diversion of donations.

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