WFP returns to Somali port city

Jan. 30, 2013 at 7:26 AM

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The U.N. World Food Program announced it started providing food assistance in the southern Somali city of Kismayo for the first time in several years.

WFP said it was delivering food aid to around 15,000 people in the port city for the first time in more than four years. Stefano Porretti, the WFP representative for Somalia, said nearly one-quarter of the children in the area are malnourished.

"It is extremely important that we are again able to work again in Kismayo, as our recent rapid food security and nutrition assessment found there is great need," he said in a statement.

Porretti said WFP determined that about half of the households in Kismayo are struggling to meet daily food needs.

The government in Mogadishu has struggled to exert control as it fights al-Shabaab, a militant group allied with al-Qaida. Authority over Kismayo recently returned the government after African forces helped overrun al-Shabaab forces there.

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