“We have managed to reach nearly 77,000 people affected by the most severe drought in the region for more than 20 years,” said WFP Somalia country director Robert Hauser. “We targeted those least able to cope – malnourished children, the destitute, the disabled and the aged.”In this first round of emergency food distributions WFP has delivered 732 tons of mixed food commodities, enough to last a month, to 39 villages in Somaliland – 15 of them through the Puntland port of Bossaso. The Sool and Sanaag districts were the worst affected.Humanitarian access to the region has been guaranteed following extensive discussions of security issues between WFP and the administrations of Somaliland and Puntland. These negotiations have also opened up access for other humanitarian agencies.Ironically, WFP’s operation was hampered by unusual rains that fell on Somalia at the beginning of December, when food delivery trucks were periodically stuck in mud.”Thirty-two of the 39 villages we assisted were hit by the rain, but it was too late to relieve the food situation,” Mr. Hauser said. “The downpour brought temporary relief to the water shortages, but 80 per cent of the livestock the people here depend on have already died.”WFP requires 14,912 tons of food, worth about $ 11.5 million, for the drought emergency and other projects in Somalia until the end of 2004.