Volunteers, friendly nations rush to aid Somalia terror victims

Citizens of Mogadishu queuing to donate blood to victims of a bomb attack, October 15th, 2017 (UN Photo)

Hundreds of people wounded in a truck bombing on Saturday in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu are receiving medical care, supplies, and blood donations from Somali well-wishers and friendly nations.

Turkey, Djibouti, Qatar and Kenya have stepped in with assistance, as well as the United Nations.

Long queues of volunteers willing to donate blood were seen in the capital. Additionally, many Mogadishu citizens donned red headbands as a sign of solidarity and anger at Saturday’s huge truck bomb, which killed an estimated 276 and wounded more than 400 others.

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Mogadishu city volunteers bring food and water to victims of the Mogadishu truck attack (Credit: Twitter/ @gurmadka252)

Mayor of Mogadishu Thabit Abdi Mohamed expressed his gratitude to the government of Turkey for dispatching aid to the wounded.

An air ambulance from Turkey ferried 35 of the injured to Ankara, while the Turkish Red Crescent delivered food, blankets, tents, and medical supplies provided by the Turkish Ministry of Health.

Turkey’s Health Minister Ahmet Demircan visited the capital Mogadishu to oversee Turkey’s support operations for the injured. Demircan was accompanied by a delegation of 33 people, including a medical team specializing in emergency services, according to the Turkish embassy.

In the meantime, dozens of medical personnel also arrived from Djibouti to assist. “Thank you Djibouti for delivering medicine and bringing 27 doctors to treat patients,” said the mayor. Qatar and Kenya were reported to have also sent medicines to Mogadishu.

Qatar’s embassy had suffered severe damage to one of its buildings in the bombing, according to a statement by the country’s foreign ministry. Qatar’s charge d’affaires was “slightly injured” in the explosion but no one was killed.

The United Nations’ top representative in Somalia, Michael Keating, praised the response of ordinary citizens, local and international actors. He added that the UN is providing emergency kits, cash, medicine, and diggers to aid in the rescue and recovery of the wounded.

Elsewhere, some countries undertook symbolic acts of solidarity. France’s iconic Eiffel Tower, which is normally well lit during the night, turned its lights off all night from midnight to pay tribute to the victims of the bomb attack.

No one has claimed responsibility for the truck bomb that killed hundreds on Saturday. Normally, rebel group Al-Shabaab is quick to claim shootings and bombings carried out in the capital Mogadishu, but this time it has not done so, possibly for fear of public backlash.


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