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AP Exclusive: How Somalia famine aid went astray

By Katharine Houreld

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 17 2012 5:40 a.m. MDT

ADVANCE FOR USE SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2012 AND THEREAFTER - FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 file photo, a child walks away carrying a bowl of food after receiving it at a food distribution center run by the Somali Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organisation (SORRDO) to cook food provided by the World Food Program (WFP) for those displaced by the 2011 famine or by conflict, in the Hodan area of Mogadishu, Somalia. A large amount of food sent by the U.N. to the Somali capital during last year's famine never reached the starving people it was intended for, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Ben Curtis, File, Associated Press

MOGADISHU, Somalia — An Associated Press investigation has found that a large amount of food sent by the U.N. to Somalia's capital during last year's famine never reached the starving people it was intended for.

The AP's three-month investigation reveals various shortcomings, some of which the U.N.'s World Food Program says it is already addressing by changing procedures.

Some of the WFP supplies went to the black market, some to feed livestock. One warehouse full of rations was looted in its entirety by a Somali government official. And across the city, feeding sites handed out far less food than records indicate they should have.

Britain estimates between 50,000 and 100,000 people died in Somalia's famine. The U.N. has requested $1.5 billion for Somalia this year, partly to prevent a return of famine.

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