TIANJIN, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- China sent its first shipment of urgently needed humanitarian aid to drought and famine victims in the Horn of Africa on Friday, the Ministry of Commerce said.
A ship loaded with 1,440 metric tons of wheat departed from China's port city of Tianjin on Friday and is expected to arrive in Ethiopia via Djibouti at the end of this month, the ministry said in a statement on its website.
The second shipment, 500 metric tons of rice, is scheduled to leave Shanghai on Saturday and reach Kenya by the month's end.
China will also send cooking oil and flour to the countries in the Horn of Africa this month.
China announced earlier that it will offer nearly 70 million U.S. dollars in emergency grain aid to the drought-stricken African countries, including a donation of 16 million U.S. dollars in cash to the World Food Program to support its famine-relief operations in Somalia.
Somalia has been experiencing the most severe food crisis in African history. About 3.6 million people in the country are at risk of starvation, accounting for half of the country's population. More than half of all Somali children are malnourished, with six infants dying from malnutrition every day.
The ministry will closely monitor the development of the drought in the Horn of Africa and is considering digging wells in Djibouti and providing medicine to drought-affected regions, the statement said.