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02 August 2011

SA medical team arrives in Somalia

Two planes carrying a South African medical team, including dieticians, paediatricians and food supplies, have landed in famine-hit Somalia.

Humanitarian group Gift of the Givers, who landed there on Monday, is taking 41 tons of water, food and medicines and has put together a medical team comprising three paediatricians, five general practitioners, two medical practitioners specialising in reproductive health, a paramedic skilled in primary healthcare and six dieticians. They will be assisting with relief efforts in the east African country's capital, Mogadishu. UN humanitarian agencies last month declared outright famine in two areas of southern Somalia.

Millions are said to be starving as the Horn of Africa battles its worst famine and drought in decades, while thousands have reportedly fled the country.

The organisation's Imtiaz Sooliman said the team said is prepared to deal with severe cases of malnutrition.

"The supplies are high end specialised paediatric ready-to-drink milk supplements, high energy and protein ready-to-eat food supplements for children and adults; intravenous fluids, antibiotics, malaria medication, a range of other medical supplies, food items, sanitary pads, personal hygiene items and bottled water," Sooliman said.

He said initially, they only had enough funds and stock for one flight to Somalia. However, there are now two heading out later this week. The other one departs on Thursday, and the while the other departs on Monday, 8 August.

Sooliman said South Africans have shown ubuntu and generously donated to the cause. "South African society have opened their hearts for their suffering brethren in Africa; this is truly an African response to an African problem," he said, giving thanks to and gratitude on behalf of the millions of suffering Somali people for contributions, and ongoing prayers.

To get more information on how to make a donations to the Gift of the Givers, call their toll-free number on 0800 786 911.

SA - the Good News via BuaNews