Somaliland in first humanitarian mission to Mogadishu

A humanitarian delegation from the Republic of Somaliland donated relief aid for 9,000 drought-displaced families in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, during a recent visit, the first such visit since the region declared unilateral independence from the rest of the country in 1991.



"We plan to distribute food for 9,000 families and medicine for four hospitals," Hasan Abdi Awed, chairman of Somaliland's Chamber of Commerce and leader of the eight-member delegation, said on 30 September. "The food we are distributing will last the beneficiary families for one month."



Awed said the Somaliland government had announced in late August that it would participate in the international efforts to provide humanitarian aid to Somalia, which has been hit by famine and drought across most of its south-central regions.



Mohamed Shugri Jama, a spokesman for the delegation, told a news conference in Hargeisa before the visit: "We collected about US$700,000 donated by the people and the government of Somaliland, and we have split into two delegations, one will be in Mogadishu distributing the food aid there, while another will go to the refugee camps [in Dadaab] in Kenya."



Receiving the Somaliland delegation at the Mogadishu international airport, the governor and mayor of Mogadishu, Mohamed Ahmed Nur Tarsan, said: "We are glad to receive the delegation from Somaliland, which is here in response to the humanitarian crisis. It is not the amount of their contribution that matters but their empathy is more important."



Somaliland, in the north of the country, is a former British protectorate that joined Italian Somaliland to form the Republic of Somalia in 1960. In 1991, the northwestern region declared its independence from the rest of Somalia and has enjoyed relative stability and peace unknown in Mogadishu.



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