This is just shameful.
TimesOnline is reporting that workers from U.N ‘s World Food Programme (WFP), an effort to get food to millions starving in Somalia, are selling emergency foodstuffs right out of the U.N warehouses to blackmarketers. These are staples (wheat, corn, oil) intended to be distributed free, and yet U.N. personnel are turning a tidy profit by selling the emergency goods to traders who also make a profit by selling the goods in marketplaces in Mogadishu. According to one trader, the scam is blatant:
“They take us to the warehouses used by the WFP and let us load our lorries. The goods are freely available and you can buy as much as you like, but we usually buy no more than 500 to 1,000 sacks at a time. Just a tonne or half a tonne a day can be shifted more discreetly.”
Of course, this is food that is desperately needed by refugees–those for whom it was initially intended. With civil war and drought, Somalia is one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in the world, ranking right beside Darfur. The WFP is supposed to be feeding 3.5 million Somalis (almost half the Somali population). Instead, it seems U.N workers are selling these supplies, making an already dire situation that much worse.
Sadly, many of the supply bags being black-marketed, are, in fact marked:
Many of the sacks for sale are marked: “A gift from the American people”, with the US government’s aid agency, USAID, providing $274 million last year in food and in humanitarian assistance for Somalia.
Some gift. This, of course, also reflects poorly on the United States. How many starving folks see that and wonder why the U.S. is forcing them to pay for something they thought would be freely given?
However, for the United Nations, it’s the same old same old. It seems to be the culture of corruption under which the U.N. operates:
- Remember the U.N. Oil for Food program in Iraq?
- Remember all the U.N. “peacekeepers” with a taste for rape?
- Remember the UNIFIL station on the Israeli/Lebanese border flying the Hezbollah flag–above the U.N. flag?
The United States spends tens of billions of dollars (taxpayers’ dollars) on U.N. activities each year, subsidizing 22% of the U.N.’s regular budget, and 25% of its peacekeeping budget. Most nations (including the billion dollar oil-rich Arab states) pay between .0001% and 3%.
With the all the corruption, all the waste, all the crime, all the stupidity… why are we still a member of this organization?