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Botswana government and businesses join hands to assist Soma...
05/08/11

A Botswana Defence Force (BDF) plane carrying 50 tons foodstuffs, as well as blankets, departed for Kenya today (1/8/11), where the aid will be handed over to the World Food Programme (WFP) for distribution to Somali refugees.

The airlift is a product of a joint effort by the Botswana Government and local business community.

Speaking in an interview with the Botswana Press Agency (BOPA) reporters before the plane's departure, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Hon. Phandu Skelemani, said that the donation effort was organised in response to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's recent appeal to the international community to avert a humanitarian crisis in Somalia.

The Minister further noted that Botswana was unable to send food aid directly to Somalia due to the continued instability in the country, which posed the risk of the food not actually reaching those in need.

The Minister, on behalf of Government, expressed his gratitude to local businesses who have contributed the following items of assistance to the
airlift:

Botswana Meat Commission -    2100 cans of ECCO Corned
Beef
Batho Botlhe Milling of Pitsane -  2000 12.5 KG bags of
Maize Meal and 2000 5kg bags of Samp (maize product)
Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board -   2000 5 KG Bags of Beans
Trans Africa Cash & Carry -    1716 750ml bottles of
Cooking Oil
Sunrise (Pty) Ltd. -     20,000 bottles of water
PUMA Botswana (Pty) Ltd. -    1500 blankets 
 
Minister Skelemani also reminded reporters that the aid airlift is not the first time Botswana has joined UN efforts to assist Somalia, noting that in 1992 BDF personnel were part of the UN Peace Keeping Mission in the country.

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