Red Cross stops distributing food in Somalia

The Swiss-run International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has suspended food distribution to 1.1 million people in central and southern Somalia.

This content was published on January 12, 2012 - 14:24 and agencies

The move comes after al Shabaab militants blocked deliveries in parts of the famine-hit country.

On Thursday the ICRC said that local authorities had been blocking deliveries in the Middle Shabelle and Galgadud regions since mid-December.

The ICRC is one of the few humanitarian agencies that has been providing supplies there despite daunting logistic and security constraints.

“The suspension will continue until we receive assurances from the authorities controlling those areas that distributions can take place unimpeded and reach all those in need, as previously agreed,” Patrick Vial, head of the ICRC delegation for Somalia, said in a statement.

Last July, the ICRC reported that child malnutrition rates in Somalia were higher than anywhere else in the world, with one in ten children at risk of starving to death in parts of the drought-hit country.

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