ISTANBUL – Turkish Airlines have responded to a call to help send aid to famine-struck Somalia.
The flag carrier acted when the hashtag #TurkishAirlinesHelpSomalia was shared hundreds of thousands of times after Vine and Snapchat star Jerome Jarre started a social media campaign to highlight the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Somalia.
He then discovered that Turkish Airlines was the only company flying to the Horn of Africa country.
“Maybe I am going to sound crazy now but what if we could find an airplane? And we filled it with food and water and sent it to Somalia?” he said in a video.
A number of celebrities, including actor Ben Stiller, repeated his plea.
The airline responded via Twitter: “We ❤ Somalia. We got the call for this meaningful flight”.
On March 4, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for people to take part in the Turkish Red Crescent aid campaign for Somalia.
The president of the Red Crescent, Kerem Kinik, thanked Stiller for raising awareness and said the charity was preparing three ships and three cargo planes to Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan with Turkish Airlines.
According to the UN, more than 20 million people are on the brink of starvation in east Africa, including around 1.4 million children.
Turkey has provided more than $121.9 million since 2011 through the Prime Ministry’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, the Turkish Red Crescent and the Directorate of Religious Affairs.