Photo: Guhild Forselv/NRC
Famine in East Africa:
Airborne emergency food to Somalia
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Marianne Alfsen (01.08.2011)
On Saturday July 31, two AN-12 planes from Norway landed in Mogadishu loaded with almost 28 tons emergency rations. This will provide 50.000 adults with sufficient nourishment for three days.

NRC is distributing the emergency rations to famine affected people in Mogadishu and its surroundings, as well as in Lower Shabelle. The so-called BP-5 biscuits have been developed for use in the first phase of disaster relief operations, before local foods can be distributed and prepared.

Each biscuit contains 255 calories and all nutrients necessary. Even small amounts can have profound effects on the health of malnourished people. It can be eaten whole, as a biscuit, or crumbled into water as porridge. The biscuit is suitable for both adults and children. The producer is the Bergen-based company Compact.

Photo: Gunhild Forselv/NRC

The current drought in the Horn of Africa is the worst in 60 years. The past few months, thousands have died from malnourishment. Most of them are children. On 20 July, the UN declared famine in two regions in South Somalia, Lower Shabelle and Bakool. Famine is declared when acute malnutrition rates among children exceed 30 per cent, more than two people per every 10,000 die per day, and people are not able to access food and other basic necessities, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). 2.8 million people in the South of Somalia need help - now. If not, the UN warns that the famine will spread to all eight regions in the South in the course of the next few weeks.

NRC chose to use planes to get the emergency rations to Somalia, as every hour counts. People are dying as we speak. The quicker we act, the more lives can be saved. More shipments by plane are being planned, while emergency food is also on its way by sea.

Photo: Gunhild Forselv/NRC

NRC is now prioritizing life saving humanitarian projects in areas where the UN has declared famine. This entails that we have reorganized our regular aid work to be able to respond to current needs.

NRC is one of few organization still able to work on the ground in Somalia, despite major security challenges. We are now also able to access territories controlled by Al-Shabaab, where drought and famine has hit hard.

For further information, please contact:

Director Advocacy and Information, Rolf Vestvik: + 47 488 93 313

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NRC in Somalia
Established: 2004
Regional Office: Nairobi, Kenya
Field offices: Mogadishu, Dollow, Dhoble, Baidoa, Hargeisa, Burao, Erigavo, Bossaso, Galkaiyo, Garowe
Budget 2014: 230 million NOK
Budget 2013: 195 million NOK
International staff: 14
National staff: 254
Contact NRC in Somalia

Regional Representative:
Hassan Khaire

Country Director:
Prafulla Mishra (Acting)

Phone: +254708958927
Nairobi office: 
Mogadishu office:
NRC Office:
C/O: Kassim Gabbow Duale ( HoO), South & Central Somalia
KM5-Madina, South Mogadishu