France has sent small-pox vaccine supplies to Somalia following an outbreak of the disease there -- using the disputed neighbouring territory of the Afars and Issas as a staging post.
France has sent small-pox vaccine supplies to Somalia following an outbreak of the disease there -- using the disputed neighbouring territory of the Afars and Issas as a staging post. The French territory, due to receive independence on June the 27th, is claimed by somalia. The claim is strongly disputed by neighbouring Ethiopia, which is in a state of near-war with Somalia.
SYNOPSIS: The small-pox vaccine airlift is being organised by the French army, flying out of Djibouti, capital of the Afars and Issas and Ethiopia's only usable sea-port. A team of eight army doctors was accompanying the shipment to Mogadishu, the Somali capital and centre of the small-pox outbreak. The Somalia Government has not allied any details of the outbreak to leave the country. But judging by the size of the vaccine shipment, it's thought to have reached epidemic proportions. For large transport aircraft -- French NORD 2501'S -- were being used in the airlift. The supplies were directly requested by the Somalia Government.
But shortly after the aircraft were fully loaded and ready for take-off the four-'plane convoy was stranded on the Djibouti runway by the Somali authorities' refusal to give them flight permission. The convoy stayed grounded for a full 24 hours before the necessary authorization from Mogadishu finally cam through. No explanation for the delay was given by either the Somali Government of the French army.