Somali-born rapper K'Naan visited his homeland on Sunday, vowing to help the desperate country in the wake of a calamitous famine that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
K'Naan, who left Somalia as a child more than two decades ago and is now based in Toronto, made a brief stop in Mogadishu on a "fact-finding mission," according to the Associated Press. He toured the capital city's Banadir Hospital and visited malnourished children. He received a hero's welcome from refugees of the famine, who mobbed the rapper and tried to shake his hand or embrace him.
"I came to Somalia to see the situation here and give any donation I have to the people and anything else available," he said, speaking in Somali. "I will do all I can to help my people in Somalia."
The rapper-singer did not perform his chart-topping song "Wavin' Flag," which talks about his rough childhood in the East African nation frought with civil war and poverty for decades. A remix of the song was used by Coca-Cola as the anthem for their promotional campaign during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa last year.
The Horn of Africa is currently struggling with a devastating drought and famine, and Somalia has been hit the hardest. The United Nations says the deepening crisis may become the worst humanitarian disaster in decades: More than 3.2 million Somalis, and more than 12 million people in the region overall, need food aid, and tens of thousands have already died. The U.S. says that 29,000 Somali children under age five have died.
Stay tuned to BET.com for more information on the drought and to find out how you can help.
(Photo: AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)