Abu Dhabi: The UAE will give at least Dh500 million aid to famine-hit Somalia in the coming weeks.
The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) Authority launched an aid campaign named “For Your Sake, Somalia” on Tuesday with an initial allocation of Dh100 million for relief operations and development projects, senior officials said here.
The famine and conflicts in Somalia have created a humanitarian crisis and people need urgent help, Dr Mohammad Atiq Al Falahi, secretary-general of the ERC, said at a press conference here.
The campaign has been launched as directed by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and with the support of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative to Al Dhafrah Region and President of the ERC.
The humanitarian crisis due to drought and widespread famine has affected all areas of life in Somalia, Al Falahi said. People’s suffering had been exacerbated due to disease and malnutrition without food and other essential items, he said.
The conflicts and related developments have made the lives of children and women miserable and they are suffering without food and water, the official said. The UAE has always been proactive in responding to such humanitarian crises. “We are extending the same support to our brothers in Somalia. We stand by them and will try to do everything to alleviate their suffering,” he said.
Another senior official told Gulf News that ERC expected to raise at least Dh400 million from charity organisations, businesses and residents, apart from Dh100 million allocated by the ERC. Food and water businesses can contribute their stocks if they are valid for at least six months, said Fahd Bin Sultan, deputy secretary-general for international aid at ERC. “We need more than 500,000 bottles of water. Water will also be distributed by tankers in and around Mogadishu.”
He said aid would be given to Somalians who have fled to neighbouring countries such as South Sudan and Kenya.
The ERC is organising a live show on the UAE TV channels to raise funds for this campaign on April 21, Bin Sultan said. “We would like to complete this mission before Ramadan,” he said.
Al Falahi said the ERC has developed an integrated plan of several stages to reduce the consequences of famine in Somalia. The ERC has completed the preparations to implement emergency relief programmes. About 50,000 food packets to families and 200,000 food packets for children, medical supplies including vaccines to control epidemics, and clothes will be distributed in the first phase. The development projects will focus on health, education, housing and water resources sectors. An ERC delegation will leave for Somalia within a few days to lead the relief operations and supervise the delivery of aid.
Al Falahi thanked ERC’s partners like the National Media Council, Etisalat and Du, charity organisations and donors in the UAE for supporting the campaign.