KHARTOUM, -- The Kuwait-based International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO) and Kuwaiti Balsam Voluntary Team have launched an emergency relief program to offer desperately-need food aid to drought-ravaged Somali people.

The program includes the distribution of 5,500 food parcels to affected families in northern, southern and eastern provinces, Head of Relief Department at IICO and Member of the delegation dispatched to Somalia Mohammad Al-Najjar said in a press statement sent to KUNA Saturday.

He added that the IICO and Balsam would also organize to medical convoys to treat people in the northern province, the hardest hit by the drought, and distribute 510 sheep and goats to 170 families to eke out a living.

The food parcels, which weigh 70 kg each and contain diet staples, such as rice, sugar, flour, dates, and milk powder, will assist recipients to endure the hardships caused by the drought that has plagued their land and harmed farms and livestock.

"This is a generous donation from Kuwaiti people to Somali brethren" Member of Balsam Team Dr. Ahmad Khodhr said.

He added that program is launched in response to the recent UN appeal to offer emergency aid to Somalia.

Over one million Somalis are suffering from malnutrition and thousands of lives are in danger due to the severe drought, he warned.

Millions of people across the Horn of Africa have been hit by El Nino-related drought.

Some 1.7 million people, 40 percent of the population of northern Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland and Somaliland regions, need emergency aid, the UN has said recently.

"Another 1.3 million are on the brink of slipping into a deeper crisis if rains continue to fail and aid is too slow to come," it said.

The UN cautioned that the drought may worsen as predictions for Somalia's main 'Gu' rainy season, from March to June, are poor.

Source: Name News Network

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