One of the UN’s largest international relief efforts is under investigation after it emerged that thousands of sacks of food aid were being diverted from starving refugees and openly sold for profit.
The head of the UN’s $955 million (£580 million) aid operation in Somalia has launched an inquiry after being shown footage showing tonnes of food bearing the World Food Programme (WFP) logo widely on sale in Mogadishu, the capital.
Stacks of bags of maize and wheat and tins of cooking oil — marked “not for re-sale” and bearing the UN stamp — are on sale from ten warehouses and 15 shops in the city’s main market.
About 45,000 tonnes of WFP food are shipped to Somalia from Kenya every month. Mogadishu traders told Channel 4 News that they bought their supplies straight from UN staff. “We buy [food] aid from WFP staff directly or from people they employ,” one market trader said.
The U.N. has long out-lived any usefulness it once had.