SA commits R8mln to assist Somalia

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pretoria -The South African government has committed more funds to help Somalia as it experiences one of the most severe droughts in its recent history.

Deputy International Relations Minister Marius Fransman said government, through President Jacob Zuma's Comprehensive Strategy for Somalia, has committed R8 million to assisting the starving Somalians.

"South Africa will assist the country in bringing about socio-political stability through developmental programmes, including capacity and institution building, as well as through shared experiences of peace-building, government has responded to a humanitarian crisis confronting that country by raising R8 million towards the famine relief programme," said Fransman on Tuesday.

He was speaking at the OR International Airport where he was welcoming humanitarian aid group, Gift of the Givers, including doctors and specialists, who were able to assist over 5 000 Somalis when they set up a temporary clinic in Mogadishu last week.

In acknowledging the work that the Gift of the Givers has executed in that country and across the world so far, Fransman said government will donate R4 million of the R8 million to the organization.

This money, he said, will cover the exorbitant costs such as fuel and transportation of donated goods and medical supplies including high end specialised paediatric, ready-to-drink milk supplements, high energy and protein ready to eat food supplement for children and adults, intravenous fluids, antibiotics, malaria medication, a range of other medical supplies, food items, sanitary pads, personal hygiene items and bottled water.

The balance will be donated to other organizations that will undertake such relief programmes in Somalia.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), in partnership with the International Marketing Council (IMC), has teamed up with Gift of the Givers to launch the Somalia Relief Campaign to raise public awareness of the dire situation in Somalia and to galvanise South Africans to make donations for relief efforts in that East African country.

According to Fransman, the mass mobilisation campaign will be delivered through multi-channel platforms consisting of print and radio adverts requesting South Africans to "play their part" in assisting the people of Somalia, who are confronted by famine, hunger, malnutrition and disease by making donations to them through the Gift of the Givers.

"We hereby call upon all the people of South Africa across all the sectors - business, civil society, and even ordinary citizens to support this initiative," added Fransman.

Imtiaz Sooliman of the Gift of the Givers said they plan to return to Somalia once they have reloaded supplies.

"Free planes, tons of food, medicines and cash in millions given. Gift of the Givers prepares delivery of 1 000 tons of aid to Somalia with immediate effect," he said on the website.

Sooliman said the organisation was in dire need of food items like rice, maize, sugar, salt, oil, beans, canned items, water, dates, dishes, pot sets and toys for the kids in Somalia.

Anyone wanting to donate to the Gift of the Givers for their second mission to Somalia can contact 0800 786 911 or visit its website www.giftofgivers.org.

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