Piracy is a big problem off of the Somali coast. World Food Program shipments have been held up, threatening the food security of an already vulnerable population. But, thanks to Canada, it looks like the WFP is about to get some relief. The Royal Canadian Navy is sending a frigate to the Horn of Africa to protect World Food Program Vessels. From the UN News Center:
Some 90 per cent of WFP food aid for Somalia arrives by sea. Since a naval escort system began last November, no escorted ships carrying WFP food have been attacked. The last escorted ship loaded with WFP food arrived in Mogadishu in late June.
There were a total of 31 incidents off Somalia in 2007 – the worst year on record for Somali piracy. Without escorts, WFP’s whole maritime supply route is under threat, according to the agency, which noted that since the escorts ended in late June some shippers have refused to load WFP food for Somalia.
WFP urgently needs to double the amount of food it delivers to Somalia – which is facing a dire humanitarian crisis owing to drought, insecurity, failed harvests, the weakness of the Somali shilling and rising food and fuel prices – through the coming months so it can feed 2.4 million people by December.