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SD Somali Youth Leader Heads To Somalia To Aid Famine Victims

Audio

Aired 9/14/11

As the famine in Somalia spreads, a San Diego Somali man leaves for his homeland today to hand deliver aid. His goal is to assess the crisis and work on self-sufficiency.

As the famine in Somalia spreads, a San Diego Somali man leaves for his homeland today to hand deliver aid. His goal is to assess the crisis and work on self-sufficiency.

Somalian refugees wait in the registration area of the Ifo refugee camp which makes up part of the giant Dadaab refugee settlement on July 20, 2011 in Dadaab, Kenya.
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Above: Somalian refugees wait in the registration area of the Ifo refugee camp which makes up part of the giant Dadaab refugee settlement on July 20, 2011 in Dadaab, Kenya.

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United Nations officials say tens of thousands of Somalis have died in the famine. Many victims are unable to walk to faraway refugee camps where food is available, and the U.N. has added another region in southern Somalia to its list of famine zones.

San Diego Somali Youth League Chairman Abdimalik Buul is leaving for Somalia today to give $30,000 in aid to groups helping victims. One of his goals during the trip is to figure out what will make Somalis less dependent on outsiders.

"For instance you can go there and collect money and give them water but if you have a water well project, it costs about $8,000 to $10,000 for eight fountains," Buul said. "The cost of operations is a cent a day, and this could be something that's used for generations and generations."

Buul's trip to Somalia is the first since he left the country at age five when civil war first broke out. It is likely to be an emotional one.

"Words can't express it. I'm really grateful for the opportunity," Buul said. "I haven't been to the country in 19 years. I don't remember much. I left there in a state of chaos and violence. I'm coming back and it's still in a state of chaos."

Buul is returning to Somalia with the American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa.

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