Turkish Prime Minister Arrives in Somalia With Aid

Posted August 19th, 2011 at 3:25 am (UTC-5)
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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Somalia Friday, bringing more aid and drawing international attention to the famine gripping the Horn of Africa country.

Mr.Erdogan's wife and a host of government officials also made the one day trip to Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.

They plan to visit refugee camps and hospitals and deliver aid to famine victims.

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was quoted in the Hurriyet newspaper as calling Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to Somalia an “historic gesture.”

Earlier this week, foreign ministers of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation met in Turkey to discuss how to combat the famine in Somalia.

The Muslim nations have pledged $350 million in assistance to drought-stricken Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa region.

In Somalia, where the situation is the most dire, the U.N. says as many as 3.2 million people are estimated to be on the brink of starvation.

Overall, the Horn of Africa is experiencing the worst drought in six decades. The U.N. has said more than 11 million people are in need of food aid.