26 Somalis die of starvation as Hollywood steps in

Mohamed Hussein had announced the deaths as he appealed for emergency aid to prevent further deaths from starvation.

Radio Mogadishu has reported that at least 26 people have died of starvation in Somalia’s southern region of Jubaland in the past 36 hours.

The government-owned radio station said regional interior minister and drought committee chairperson Abdirahman Mohamed Hussein had announced the deaths as he appealed for emergency aid to prevent further deaths from starvation.

Hussein’s appeal followed UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warning earlier in the month that six million Somalis were at risk and in dire need of aid during a visit to Somalia.

The North Africa country is facing a crippling drought that has decimated livestock and ruined crops, resulting in hundreds of people fleeing Jubaland and seeking refuge in the capital Mogadishu, where some of them have been given food by locals.

Despite the support of residents in Mogadishu, the aid received is insufficient.

However, in addition to the help offered by Somalis and international aid agencies, Hollywood star Ben Stiller is one of a number of media celebrities who have teamed up on social media to try and raise funds to help, raising almost $2 million in less than a week.

The Love Army for Somalia campaign reached its initial goal of raising $1 million to fly supplies to Somalia in less than 24 hours.

The campaign then followed this up with an ice bucket challenge campaign involving actors Cara Delevingne, Emma Watson, Lewis Hamilton and American actress Alyssa Milano.

Next Monday the first flight carrying 60 tonnes of food will be delivered to Mogadishu. The food is to be distributed by the American Refugee Committee.

The money will also be used to fund water supplies to drought-hit areas of Somalia.

Meanwhile, a deadly car bomb on Tuesday killed at least five people including Somali soldiers, and wounded several others, when it rammed a security checkpoint approximately 500 metres from the Presidential Palace in the capital.

Radio Kulmiye journalist Farhio Hussein told Al Jazeera the victims included Somali soldiers.

The militant group Al Shabaab, which has been fighting to overthrow the Somali government, claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on its website.

The extremists were ousted from the capital by African Union (AU) troops in 2011 but remain in control of parts of the countryside from where they launch attacks on government, military and civilian targets in the capital and in regional towns.

Last week, at least five people were killed and 12 others injured in two separate car bombings in Mogadishu.

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