MOGADISHU - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his family on Friday arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu to assess the humanitarian crisis brought about by the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa nation. The Turkish prime minister, accompanied by a large high level delegation, visited the refugee camps in the Somali capital Mogadishu run by the Turkish aid agencies. He met drought and famine victims in the two camps in Mogadishu. "What I have seen is a crisis in the all the meaning of the word I have never seen anything like it before," said the Turkish prime minister at a joint news conference with Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
Erdogan is the most senior official from Turkey to visit Somalia for the past 20 years in which the Horn of African country has been embroiled in civil conflict.
The Turkish prime minister's delegation includes five key ministers, members of the Turkish parliament and civil society groups from such as the Turkish Red Crescent which is now leading the humanitarian efforts to help the needy in Somalia.
Somalia is currently facing the worst drought and famine in more than six decades and according to the Somali government, almost 3.5 million people are affected by the drought and famine described by the UN as the worst humanitarian crisis in the World.
Erdogan who received a rapturous welcome by local Mogadishu residents pledged to step up humanitarian efforts by his government, saying that Turkey will soon reopen its embassy in Mogadishu to further strengthen the humanitarian assistance to the drought and famine stricken people of Somalia.
The declared aim of the Turkish prime minister's visit to Somalia is to turn the world's attention to the crisis in Somalia which Erdogan said is worse than that of the Sudanese region of Darfur.
The Somali president thanked the Turkish prime minister for his commitment and dedication to helping Somali people and praised for his "courage."
The Turkish prime minister called on international community to do more to help the drought and famine victims, saying it is humanitarian imperative to do so.
It is estimated that nearly half of Somalia's 7.5 million people have been affected by drought and a quarter of the population has been uprooted since the beginning of the year.
Currently there are over 875,000 Somali refugees in neighboring countries, with some 1.5 million more Somalis internally displaced, mostly in the south-central region of the country. (Xinhua)