Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become the most high profile leader so far to visit Mogadishu during Somalia’s famine.
He and his family, along with five cabinet ministers, were met by Somalia’s President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed at the airport before being taken on a tour of the city, now free of Islamist militants following their withdrawal.
They saw for themselves the famine victims at one of the refugee camps. Erdogan’s trip comes days after Turkey and other Islamic countries pledged more than 240 million euros in aid to fight the famine.
The prime minister and his wife met one young couple who had lost two of their four children. They died after trekking 90 kilometres to Mogadishu.
Erdogan has described the disaster as a “litmus test” for all humanity.
Aid agencies said on Friday they are still unable to reach more than two million hungry people in parts of southern Somalia controlled by Islamists from al Shabab.
Droughts, they say, are natural phenomenon, but this famine has been largely caused by conflict.