Tuesday June 6, 2017
The first vessel carrying rice departed Shanghai on Monday, part of China's emergency food aid for drought-stricken Somalia. The rice is among the 2-billion-yuan (300-million-US-dollar) emergency food aid plan announced by China for Belt and Road countries at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation last month.
The 2,821.75 tonne-rice, loaded in two ships, will be given to 223,500 Somali people as their provisions for four months, according to the China office of World Food Programme (WFP).
WFP China Representative Qu Sixi said the Belt and Road Initiative would help countries to "help each other" eradicate poverty and hunger.
"WFP is extremely grateful to the Chinese government for its longstanding commitment to addressing urgent humanitarian needs to vulnerable people on the brink of famine," he said.
Half of the Somali population, including 363,000 acutely malnourished children aged under five, need urgent assistance as its drought intensifies, especially in southern and northeastern parts of the country, according to WFP.