ANKARA (Somsource) A Turkish foundation has sent packages of essential food aid to thousands of drought-stricken residents of Somalia.
The Turkey Diyanet Foundation, a group affiliated to the state Religious Affairs Directorate, has handed out 1,500 packages of food aid to needy families in the Shirwac, Arra’ad, and Togdheer regions of Somaliland, an autonomous region of the Horn of Africa country, the group said in a statement Monday.
The foundation plans to send aid to more than 5,500 families in Somali cities such as Mogadishu, Garbaharrey, Bardera, Bosaso, Qardho, and Baidoa, the statement added.
The foundation’s goal is to reach 18,000 needy families in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.
Thirty-seven children in the region, most suffering from growth retardation, have also been treated, according to Mesut Sezikli, a volunteer doctor.
Sezikli stated that there is an urgent need for pediatric vitamin pills.
According to a United Nations report, nearly 950,000 Somali children under the age of five “will be acutely malnourished this year.”
The Somali government has called the famine a looming national disaster.
At least half of Somalia’s population is in need of humanitarian emergency support, as the drought there is the worst since 1945, according to the UN.
The drought hit at least 11 out of 18 Somalia regions, including the worst-affected Bay region, where at least 110 people died from hunger and a cholera outbreak last month.
Reporting by Ugur Cil; Writing by Nilay Kar