Bahrain raises $2.7 million to famine-stricken Somalis

August 15, 2011

Bahrain has raised BD 1,012,781 ($ 2.7 million) to extend a lifeline to famine-stricken Somalis during a one-day telethon on Bahrain Television.

The aid campaign under the title of “BH4Somalia”, an initiative launched by the Information Affairs Authority (IAA), attracted 41,589 donors from Bahrain and the Middle East and North African (MENA) region, organizers said. The aid campaign for Somalia ran for one day only on Friday over two periods.

In the first leg of the campaign, more than 12,000 participants, including Bahraini citizens, expatriates, companies, financial institutions and participants from the MENA region, took part to raise over BD 500,000.

“This initiative is a testament to our role in bringing awareness to humanitarian issues and providing relief and assistance to our Muslim brothers in Somalia during the holy month of Ramadan,” Shaikh Fawaz Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of the IAA, said.

The initiative followed the approval of a $3 million donation in emergency aid for famine-stricken Somalia by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa on Thursday. Donations that came in from the IAA Telethon will be an addition to the $3 million donated by the government.

Bahrain TV set up twelve lines at the disposal of viewers from Bahrain and around the world to call in and donate, in addition to other hotlines for people wishing to donate by SMS and be charged to personal phone bills. Participants who wished to donate in person visited the IAA headquarters and the donation booths set up in Bahrain City Center Mall and Seef Mall.

A special live telethon on Bahrain TV played host to prominent religious and social figures to encourage citizens and people from the region to donate and assist in the aid campaign for the Somali people.

Organisers said that lines have been closed, but SMS services and direct bank transfers will be available until August 20.

King Hamad and Prime Minister Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa expressed special thanks to all those who contributed to the massive show of support for Somalis.

The unprecedented success of the national humanitarian campaign reflects Bahrainis’ solidarity with brotherly Somalis, King Hamad said.

Prince Khalifa expressed gratitude and appreciation to all citizens and expatriates who responded promptly and positively to the call of humanity and religious duty.

Bahrain will spare no effort to deliver assistance to distraught Somalis, Prince Khalifa said.

Two regions of southern Somalia are currently facing famine. Malnutrition rates are above 50 per cent in some of the districts and tens of thousands of people have already died for reasons related to malnutrition in the last few months. In the first half of 2011, the number of people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance increased by over a million to 3.7 million people, almost half of the people living in Somalia. If humanitarian agencies and bodies do not intervene now, famine will spread to the whole of southern Somalia within two months, organizers said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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