Somalia welcomes Turkish aid as famine takes hold

The “Turkish model” of delivering humanitarian aid should be emulated by other donor states, the Somalian envoy to Ankara said Wednesday.

Charge d’affaires Abdulkadir Muhammad Nur said Turkish aid and development projects in the war-torn Horn of Africa state had provided a blueprint for assistance as Somalia faces a devastating drought.

“TIKA, AFAD, the Red Crescent and other NGOs… are continuing to provide assistance to the region and there are big projects prepared by TIKA for water storage systems in drought-stricken areas,” Nur said, referring to Turkey’s main aid and development agencies.

“They have been working for a long time and are continuing their aid activities. Turkey is always working for Somalia and the Turks are carrying out the most effective aid work in Somalia.”

Four countries — Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen — currently face famine, putting more than 20 million lives at risk, according to the UN.

In Somalia, which faced its last famine six years ago, the lack of water has led to crop failure, the death of livestock and an outbreak of deadly diseases. In addition, the al-Shabaab terror group continues to have a destabilizing effect on the country.

“We can say that the latest situation in Somalia is really bad,” Nur told Anadolu Agency.

“This affects about 3 million people. In 2011, many people lost their lives due to drought.”

Nur highlighted the response of Turkish Airlines to the impending emergency as a further example of Turkey’s help.

– Turkish Airlines

The airline is the only company to fly international passenger flights to Mogadishu and earlier this month a social media campaign called on it to help provide aid.

“Turkish Airlines responded via a social media campaign call and this campaign received huge support,” Nur said. “It is providing a great help to Somalia, the only international airline that flies to Somalia.”

The airline is to send 60 tons of humanitarian aid worth $2 million to Somalia.

Nur added: “The support of the international community is not enough… We believe that using the Turkish model will lead to healthier and more effective results.”

Somalia’s 2011 drought killed nearly 260,000 people, half of them children. It was the first famine declared in the Horn of Africa region in nearly thirty years.

A cholera epidemic caused by the drought had reached serious dimensions, Nur said.

“There was no cholera during the drought in 2011,” he said. “This year’s drought is much worse and a cholera outbreak occurred. It continues to grow.”

Eleven of Somalia’s 18 regions have been hit by the drought with the Bay region in the south most affected. More than 100 people died from hunger and cholera there last month.

Turkey, which played a significant role in overcoming the last famine, has initiated many projects, such as a 200-bed training and research hospital that was opened in 2015.

Reporting by Zuhal Demirci; Writing by Felix Nkambeh Tih


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