Somali famine

The BBC World Service says its journalists were 'overwhelmed' by questions on relief aid

Credit: Oxfam East Africa on Flickr. Some rights reserved
The BBC World Service has launched special radio broadcasts on its Somalia service aimed at helping those affected by the famine in the Horn of Africa.

According to a release, the daily 15 minute programmes, called
Gurmad (Rescue), feature news bulletins offering practical information and expert advice "to help people to make informed decisions that may help them survive the famine".

The editor of BBC Somali, Yusuf Garaad Omar, said while the broadcaster has been covering the humanitarian crisis its reporters have been “overwhelmed” with questions on relief aid.

"So we decided to devote a special programme to address these issues, and as a majority of those affected are Somali-speakers, it was also obvious that BBC Somali is the right channel to reach these people.

“We hope that timely, up-to-date information, provided by experts, about issues these people are facing every day, will help them survive this crisis. We will do our best to maintain the supply of such knowledge to all those who are in need of it.”

The news bulletins will be followed by interviews and reports by correspondents across the region, while listeners can also put questions to aid workers, doctors and authorities, the release added.

The BBC said programmes will also be rebroadcast by its partner radio stations including Kenya’s Star FM, Shabelle FM in Mogadishu, Somalia and the private Somali network, SBC.

This news comes as other areas of the World Service are being forced to make cuts in the face of government funding cuts.

Earlier this year the BBC announced it was to close a series of language services as it seeks to find savings of around £67 million over the next four years.

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