WFP Food Provides Daily Meals to Mogadishu's Hungry - First Time in 15 Years

    NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Nations
World Food Program (WFP) and a Somali partner have started giving daily meals
to tens of thousands of desperately hungry people in the capital Mogadishu --
the agency's first 'wet feeding' in Somalia since the 1993 humanitarian

    The meals started to be distributed on 25 November and numbers are
expanding daily. By Monday, WFP and its NGO partner SAACID were feeding at
least 21,000 people in eight city districts. They plan to provide meals in up
to 10 districts with a target of up to 50,000 people each day.

    "The depth and scale of the crisis in Somalia is extremely alarming to us
all - in some parts acute malnutrition levels surpass emergency threshold
levels," said WFP Somalia Country Director Peter Goossens, adding that the
success of the operation demonstrated the determination of WFP and SAACID to
reach the hungry despite a multitude of obstacles.

    "We urge everyone to respect this vital humanitarian operation, which is
feeding the desperately hungry."

    WFP was forced to start wet feeding in Mogadishu after fatal shooting
incidents halted distributions of WFP dry rations in the capital in late June.
As one-month rations of dried food are stored in beneficiaries' homes, they
are more liable to be looted than prepared meals eaten on site.

    Goossens said insecurity in Mogadishu was also causing the disruption of
markets with consequent hyperinflation. There is a lack of employment, and a
shortage of medical and sanitation facilities. Malnutrition rates in the
capital are rising, with acute malnutrition rates among children under the age
of 5 years estimated to be reaching 15 percent or more.

    With food assistance needs on the rise, WFP is appealing to donors to
bridge a US$31 million funding gap. Last week, WFP private sector partner YUM!
Brands announced a US$1 million contribution from the funds raised during its
'World Hunger Relief Week' campaign in October. This is the largest corporate
donation to WFP Somalia.

    Some 30 kilometers west of Mogadishu, WFP is consistently reaching people
who fled heavy fighting in the capital. From last Saturday to Tuesday, a
one-month ration of WFP food was distributed in the Afgoye area to 180,000
people -- part of 600,000 people who fled their homes this year.

    The top 10 donors to WFP's two-year Protracted Relief and Recovery
Operation in Somalia ending in July 2008 are: United States (US$36 million),
Canada (US$7.8 million), Netherlands (US$6.8 million), Saudi Arabia (US$3.3
million), Japan (US$3.2 million), United Nations (US$2.5 million),
multilateral funds (US$2.2 million -- including US$1.9 million from Sweden),
Germany (US$2 million), Finland (US$1.9 million),  Ireland (US$1.7 million).

    WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency. Last year we gave food to
88 million people -- mostly women and children -- in 78 of the world's poorest

    For more information please contact:
    Jennifer Parmelee, Washington, 202-6530010 ext. 1149, Cell. 202-4223383
    Bettina Luescher, New York, 212-9635196, Cell. 646-8241112,


For further information:

For further information: Jennifer Parmelee, Washington, +1-202-653-0010 
ext. 1149, Cell: +1-202-422-3383, or Bettina Luescher, New York, 
+1-212-963-5196, Cell: +1-646-824-1112,, both of Friends of 
the World Food Program Web Site:

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