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July 31, 2011

Botswana to Begin Sending Aid to Somali Refugees

by Peter Clottey

Botswana plans to ship relief items to Somali refugee camps in Kenya this week.

Government spokesman Jeff Ramsay said “[The administration] announced it will fly food aid to Kenya refugee camps to help in assisting the people of both Kenya and Somalia.”  He said the amount of food that will be sent is still being calculated.

He also said the government is pleased with public and private support it received after appealing to individuals and organizations for help with efforts to send aid to Somali refugees.

“[The government] called upon the public to also make donations through organizations such as the Red Cross and indeed the private sector as well,” said Ramsay. “In doing so, we have also outlined the kind of food stuffs that we are seeking to efficiently send - things such as beans, bottled water, cooking oil and corned beef.”

Botswana is a leading producer and exporter of meat products in Southern Africa. Ramsey said the government plans to ship some of the canned meat to Kenya to help with humanitarian relief efforts there.

Ramsay also said his government is working closely with Nairobi to help Somali refugees.