Mogadishu, Somalia – The World Food Programme (WFP) has had its funding from the European Union temporarily suspended due to allegations of widespread aid theft and corruption in Somalia.
The EU provided over $7 million to WFP operations in Somalia last year, money intended to help feed the country’s most vulnerable citizens. However, an investigation by the United Nations revealed that local officials, security forces, and aid workers have been stealing portions of the aid.
In response, EU spokesperson Balazs Ujvari confirmed that the EU Commission has halted funding to WFP in Somalia as a precautionary measure until the situation can be addressed.
This suspension could have devastating consequences for Somalis relying on the aid. “This issue could affect the aid reaching vulnerable people, the displaced people, while waiting for the autumn rains,” said humanitarian expert Hussein Jama Guled in an interview with the BBC.
With Somalia still recovering from famine in 2010-2011, when WFP was also accused of food aid theft and mismanagement, any disruption to aid could be catastrophic, experts warn.
“The aid was intended for people affected by famine. If it is stopped, it will impact many people,” said Guled.
The EU and WFP say they are working to resolve the issues as quickly as possible. However, for now, Somalia’s most defenseless citizens may be left without desperately needed food assistance. Aid groups urge the international community to find alternate means of providing aid until the situation can be stabilized.