Islamic Foundation donates food aid to Somalia

Islamic Foundation of the Maldives (IFM) has donated vital food aid to over 80,000 victims of famine in the drought-stricken Somalia.

In a press statement released today, the religious NGO claimed that the food aid which included rice, flour, sugar, dates and cooking oil was handed over to 84,040 Somalis. Most recipients were women, children and the elderly.

According to IFM, food items worth Rf365, 203 (US$23,683) were equally distributed among 10,050 households belonging to the four worst hit areas: Bay, Bakool, Lower Shabelle and Banadir.

During the last quarter of 2011, an IFM official went to Somalia and dispersed the aid with the help of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), the statement noted.

The UN has officially declared six parts of Somalia to be suffering from famine amid the worst drought in east Africa for 60 years.

“The Somalia crisis is everybody’s responsibility and Somalis need support now. We cannot afford to wait or we will let down the Somali people,” said Mark Bowden, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia.

According to Bowden, more than half of Somalia’s 10 million people who are in dire need of help “will die without assistance”, while tens of thousands, including children, have already died of starvation.

The drought in East Africa has put an estimated 11 million people at risk. Suffering decades of relentless conflict, Somalia is the worst-hit country in the region.

Somalia’s south are experience the worst cases of famine, particularly the regions of Lower Shabelle, Middle and Lower Juba, Bay, Bakool, Benadir, Gedo and Hiraan, where the UN says an estimated 310,000 now suffer from acute malnutrition.

Meanwhile the UN has appealed for $1.5 billion for 2012, warning that the humanitarian crisis gripping millions of Somalis will persist for the coming months.