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Lebanon sends aid shipment to Somalia

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lebanon has sent its first consignment of humanitarian assistance to famine-hit Somalia as millions are on the brink of starvation.

The consignment, comprising rice, sugar, flour, baby milk, and medical supplies, arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Friday, Lebanon's The Daily Star reported on Saturday.

The campaign to help Somali famine refugees was launched jointly by the Lebanese government's Higher Relief Committee, Lebanon's Health Ministry, and the country's Dar al-Fatwa Endowment Fund.

Drought and famine have affected more than 11.8 million people across Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Somalia has been the hardest-hit country in what is being described as the worst drought in the Horn of Africa in 60 years.

According to the United Nations, a quarter of Somalia's 9.9 million people are now either internally displaced or living outside the country as refugees.

The UN has declared famine in five regions of Somalia and says that the international humanitarian response to the crisis has been insufficient.

The United Nations says that more than thirteen children out of every 10,000 aged less than five die in the Somalia famine zone every day.

"This means that 10 per cent of children under five are dying every 11 weeks. These figures are truly heart-wrenching," UN representative to Somalia Augustine Mahiga told the UN Security Council on August 10.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.