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EU Halts Food Aid to Somalia Due to Allegations of Misuse, Report Claims

© AP Photo / Gregorio BorgiaWorld Food Program
World Food Program - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 20.09.2023
The World Food Program (WFP) is a humanitarian organization, which provides food assistance for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change. The program has presence in more than 120 countries and territories. Last year, the European Commission supported WFP operations in Somalia with more than $7 million.
European Union suspended financing for the World Food Program (WFP) in Somalia after the United Nations discovered the misuse of the aid, media reported, referring to EU officials.
"So far, the EU has not been informed by its UN partners of a financial impact on EU-funded projects. Nevertheless, we will continue to monitor the situation and abide by our zero-tolerance approach to fraud, corruption or misconduct," a spokesman for the European Commission, Balazs Ujvari was quoted by the media as saying.
Another official anonymously revealed that the EU decided to impose the suspension due to the results of the UN investigation, which indicated that the provided aid does not reach vulnerable people, the outlet said.
The sources reportedly added that the organization will restore the aid after the WFP will verify its partners in Somalia.

However, another official did not confirm the suspension of the aid, noting, though, that EU is "cooperating actively with WFP to resolve systemic defects" in its distribution.

According to the media, the UN report failed to quantify the amount of aid diverted, but underlined that its findings "suggest that post-delivery aid diversion in Somalia is widespread and systemic". The document, which was published on July 7 and marked "strictly confidential," outlined that the food aid to the country is allegedly stolen by the local authorities.
Yet the Somali Disaster Management Office, managing the government's humanitarian response, highlighted that Somali authorities were committed to investigating the UN report's findings, while adding that current aid delivery systems operate "outside the government channels," the outlet noted.
In early June, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) along with the WFP put on hold aid shipments to Ethiopia, amid an ongoing internal examination by local authorities into the misappropriation of food that was designated for people in need.
The Ethiopian government condemned the move, made by USAID and the WFP. The government's spokesman Legesse Tulu said that the decision taken by the two crucial aid organizations "punishes millions".
He outlined that the decision was "political", underlying that "to hold the government solely responsible [for the diverted aid] is unacceptable".