By AGENCIES, Arab News
ISTANBUL: Member states of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) gathered in Istanbul Thursday to coordinate an emergency response to the devastating drought in Somalia.
“In such a large-scale disaster, we need to join hands together and to act collectively so as to counter the spread of the calamity and to save as many lives as we possibly can,” OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu of Turkey told a meeting of the organization’s relief aid agencies.
“For this reason, we call for the establishment of a large coalition under the banner of the OIC to address the emergency situation in Somalia and the Horn of Africa in general,” he added.
Nongovernmental organizations agreed at the meeting to let the OIC coordinate the humanitarian efforts of its 57 member countries.
The United Nations last week officially declared famine in two parts of southern Somalia, as the world slowly mobilized to help 12 million people battling hunger in the region’s worst drought in 60 years.
Tens of thousands have died.
Turkish Muslim charity IHH said at the meeting it would send 3,000 tons of humanitarian assistance to Somalia shortly, while Saudi Arabia pledged a $60-million contribution and Kuwait another $10 million.