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Abu Dhabi's TV broadcasters moments before going on air with the telethon.
Abu Dhabi's TV broadcasters moments before going on air with the telethon.

Telethon raises Dh64m for Horn of Africa famine relief

Organisers keep telephone and SMS lines open to help reach a target of Dh100m for victims of a drought ravaging the Horn of Africa.

DUBAI// A national telethon organised by the Red Crescent Authority collected more than Dh64 million to help famine victims in the Horn of Africa.

The telethon, Suqyahum (quenching your thirst), which began on Wednesday, raised Dh64.8million in the three days of its nightly broadcast on Abu Dhabi Television. The campaign was initiated at the request of the President, Sheikh Khalifa.

More money was raised in similar events in Dubia and Sharjah, although those totals were not immediately available.

With its end on Friday, the organisers of Suqyahum said the amount collected was short of the Dh100 million they had hoped to raise.

"The telethon has ended but we will continue to broadcast the toll-free and SMS numbers on the channel for people who want to contribute to the cause," said Abdulraheem Albateeh, the director of Abu Dhabi Television, part of Abu Dhabi Media, publisher of The National.

Dr Saleh Al Taee, the secretary general adviser at the RCA, said 400 tonnes of food items had been donated by companies.

"This includes 180 tonnes of dates," he said.

Dr Al Taee added that milk, rice and sugar was also collected. The RCA aims to send 400,000 tonnes of relief to the Somali capital.

More than 29,000 children are estimated to have died of hunger in the past few weeks due to the drought. Another 300,000 children in the Horn of Africa are severely undernourished, according to the United Nations.

The RCA has opened seven clinics in its camps in the Somalian cities of Mogadishu and Hargeisa, and wants people and companies to contribute. It urgently needs medicines including antibiotics and anti-malaria medicines.

"This is an appeal to factories, pharmacies and private and government hospitals," said Dr Al Taee.

"We need medical items and if we have a sufficient amount we will send it by plane."

"The condition is that they should have a shelf life of one year and must be packaged well."

He said there are thousands of orphans that would also need financial support.

"We have the names of these orphans and have a programme for people who want to come forward and support them as well," he said.

aahmed@thenational.ae

To donate:

Dubai Islamic Bank: account 001-520-6066666-01

Dar Al Bir Society: At branches and stands in malls

Sharjah Charity Association: SMS 6212 to donate Dh20 and 6215 to donate Dh100

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