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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Relief food to Somalia to be shipped soon, says minister

About 3000 tonnes of relief food to hunger-stricken Horn of Africa will be dispatched on the designated place as soon as the South African ship under SADC flag docks at the Dar es Salaam Harbour.

Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Bernard Membe told the National Assembly in Dodoma yesterday that the vessel would deliver all consignments of relief food pledged by the members of the SOuthern African Development Cooperation.

"The ship is expected in Dar es Salaam anytime now," said the minister, attributing the delay in shipment to, insecurity off the Somalia Coast in the Indian Ocean.

He ruled out any further delay as security situation in the region had improved tremendeously of late.  He added that the government also pledged 200,000 US Dollars to the war and hunger ravaged Somalia.

The minister was reacting to Chambani Member of Parliament (CUF) Salim Hemed Khamis who had sought to know how the government was living up to the Africa Union's slogan "One Africa One Vote Against Hunger" adopted last year, requiring African countries to come to the rescue of the troubled region.

The AU had observed that food insecurity remained at emergency levels across parts of the Horn of Africa, with famine declared in two regions of Southern Somalia and humanitarian organizations struggled to cope with the influx of Somalia refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Mr. Membe said the AU members during their special meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last August pledged 350m US Dollars for the cause.

He however, observed that as of February of this year, it emerged that some 1 bn US Dollars was needed to address the situation.

Quoting United Nations statistics, the minister said the disaster affected more than 12 million people, and deaths associated with famine reached an average of six people (five children and one adult) daily last year.

Source:  Daily News, Tanzania

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