SHANGHAI — The first vessel carrying rice departed Shanghai on June 5, part of China’s emergency food aid for drought-stricken Somalia.
The 2,821.75 ton-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).
The rice is among the 2-billion-yuan ($300 million) emergency food aid plan announced by China for Belt and Road countries at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation last month.
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.