EU NAVFOR’s Deputy Commander visits WFP headquartersOctober 5, 2010 - 11:51
On Monday 4 October, EU NAVFOR’s Deputy Commander, Rear-Admiral Thomas Ernst, visited the World Food Programme (WFP) Headquarters in Rome, Italy, to discuss possible ways for EU NAVFOR to improve the assistance it provides to WFP vessels.
This visit was of high importance for EU NAVFOR as it is its priority mission to escort WFP merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid, along with vessels of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). “WFP will remain our mission focus and our primary customer”, stated Rear-Admiral Ernst during the visit.
Since the beginning of the operation in 2008, 91 WFP chartered ships have already been safely escorted by EU NAVFOR warships. These escorts helped in the delivery of more than 446,000 metric tons of food to Somali, feeding on average more than 1,350,000 Somalis each day.
“Ongoing drought and civil unrest in central Somalia has left 70% of the population in the region in need of humanitarian assistance”, explains WFP on its website. “ […] One in six Somali children is acutely malnourished – a total of some 240,000 children – the highest acute malnutrition rates anywhere in the world. In south and central Somalia these rates are even higher, reaching one in every five children. […] Naval escorts continue to be necessary for ships carrying WFP food into Somalia, in order to protect against the threat of piracy.”
Mr Thompson, WFP Logistic officer, compared the situation today to that of 2005 and explained to Rear-Admiral Ernst that EU NAVFOR escorts had made a huge difference for the safety of the vessels transits.
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