FAO staff member killed in Southern Somalia
UN hunger-fighting agency calls for unrestricted access
27 August 2012, Nairobi/Rome - A UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) staff member has been killed in an attack by an armed group in Southern Somalia, the hunger-fighting agency announced.
"Our deepest condolences go out to the family and colleagues of Mr. Yassin Mohamed Hassan, who was killed this morning in Merka," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.
"Our thoughts are also with staff members who are dealing with the trauma caused by the extremely violent and targeted nature of this event," Graziano da Silva added.
After serving more than 4 years FAO in different capacities, Hassan, a 32-year old Somali national, was part of a mission in the area that was overseeing irrigation infrastructure rehabilitation works under a FAO programme.
Since the declaration of famine in July 2011, FAO, along with the wider UN community, scaled up its operations in Southern Somalia helping over one million farmers and herders to cope with recurrent droughts in the Horn of Africa nation.
It is thanks to the field staff in Somalia, that the UN and the humanitarian community, with the support of Somali families, were able to effectively respond to the famine and save millions of lives.
FAO, which has over 100 staff living and working across Somalia, is one of the few agencies that still have access to some of the most complex parts of Southern Somalia. The FAO Representative in Somalia, Luca Alinovi, called for an end to attacks on humanitarian workers who risk their own lives to save others.