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Kaepernick assists Somalia relief flight

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    Kaepernick assists Somalia relief flight

Photo: Scott Strazzante, The Chronicle

Colin Kaepernick kneels during national anthem before the 49ers play the Rams at Levi’s Stadium in September.
Colin Kaepernick kneels during national anthem before the 49ers play the Rams at Levi’s Stadium in September.

Photo: Scott Strazzante, The Chronicle

A picture taken on March 17, 2017, shows bodies of people who were killed in a boat carrying Somali refugees arriving in the rebel-held Yemeni port city of Hodeida. Dozens of people including women and children have been shot dead aboard a boat carrying Somali refugees in the Red Sea off war-torn Yemen according to officials. The refugees were hit by light weapons fire in waters off rebel-held Hodeida but the boat managed to dock in the city’s port, an official there said.

A picture taken on March 17, 2017, shows bodies of people who were killed in a boat carrying Somali refugees arriving in the rebel-held Yemeni port city of Hodeida. Dozens of people including women and children

Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images

People along with security forces gather at explosion site after an attack staged with two bomb-laden vehicles in front of Weheliye Hotel in Mogadishu, Somali on March 13, 2017. At least 8 people reported dead. (Photo by Sadak Mohamed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

People along with security forces gather at explosion site after an attack staged with two bomb-laden vehicles in front of Weheliye Hotel in Mogadishu, Somali on March 13, 2017. At least 8 people reported dead.

Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Injured victims are being carried away from the explosion site after an attack staged with two bomb-laden vehicles in front of Weheliye Hotel in Mogadishu, Somali on March 13, 2017. At least 8 people reported dead. (Photo by Tuuryare Adde/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Injured victims are being carried away from the explosion site after an attack staged with two bomb-laden vehicles in front of Weheliye Hotel in Mogadishu, Somali on March 13, 2017. At least 8 people reported

Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Cholera-stricken victims in a former prison in the remote central Somali town of Dinsoor. Cholera has now taken hold in remote areas as water sources become scarce and that available has become expensive to buy. Villagers affected, mostly in the southern part of the country, have resorted to drinking stagnant and dirty water with the last count of cholera victims now past 7,500. According to an United Nations February 2017 OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) report, famine could very soon be a reality in Somalia, largely due consecutive and severe drought. There are already worrying similarities to the situation in 2011, when 260,000 died. In the worst affected areas, chiefly rural communities, crops have been wiped out and livestock died, while communities are being forced to sell their assets, and borrow money and food to survive. Some 6.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, 3 million people cannot meet their daily food requirements and need urgent humanitarian assistance. UN humanitarian efforts, from UN agencies such as UN OCHA, World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF as well as on the ground NGO’s, are all in overdrive mode providing a combination of food distribution, access and security as well as medical support and treatment. (Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images)

Cholera-stricken victims in a former prison in the remote central Somali town of Dinsoor. Cholera has now taken hold in remote areas as water sources become scarce and that available has become expensive to

Photo: Giles Clarke/Getty Images

Recently arrived internally displaced women and children wait in a ‘wet-food’ line at a World Food Program center in Mogadishu, Somalia. Thousands of people have poured into the Somali capital over the past few weeks in search for food and water at the severe drought takes hold in remote rural regions. According to an United Nations February 2017 OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) report, famine could very soon be a reality in Somalia, largely due consecutive and severe drought. There are already worrying similarities to the situation in 2011, when 260,000 died. In the worst affected areas, chiefly rural communities, crops have been wiped out and livestock died, while communities are being forced to sell their assets, and borrow money and food to survive. Some 6.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, 3 million people cannot meet their daily food requirements and need urgent humanitarian assistance. UN humanitarian efforts, from UN agencies such as UN OCHA, World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF as well as on the ground NGO’s, are all in overdrive mode providing a combination of food distribution, access and security as well as medical support and treatment. (Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images)

Recently arrived internally displaced women and children wait in a ‘wet-food’ line at a World Food Program center in Mogadishu, Somalia. Thousands of people have poured into the Somali capital over the past few

Photo: Giles Clarke/Getty Images

Recently arrived internally displaced women and children at a World Food Program center in Mogadishu, Somalia. Thousands of people have poured into the Somali capital over the past few weeks in search for food and water at the severe drought takes hold in remote rural regions. According to an United Nations February 2017 OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) report, famine could very soon be a reality in Somalia, largely due consecutive and severe drought. There are already worrying similarities to the situation in 2011, when 260,000 died. In the worst affected areas, chiefly rural communities, crops have been wiped out and livestock died, while communities are being forced to sell their assets, and borrow money and food to survive. Some 6.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, 3 million people cannot meet their daily food requirements and need urgent humanitarian assistance. UN humanitarian efforts, from UN agencies such as UN OCHA, World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF as well as on the ground NGO’s, are all in overdrive mode providing a combination of food distribution, access and security as well as medical support and treatment. (Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images)

Recently arrived internally displaced women and children at a World Food Program center in Mogadishu, Somalia. Thousands of people have poured into the Somali capital over the past few weeks in search for food

Photo: Giles Clarke/Getty Images

Somali women and children wait in the shade under Acacia trees before being admitted into a World Food Program (WFP) registration camp in Central Mogadishu. According to a United Nations February 2017 report, famine could soon be a reality in Somalia, largely due consecutive and severe drought. There are already worrying similarities to the situation in 2011, when 260,000 died. In the worst affected areas, chiefly rural communities, crops have been wiped out and livestock died, while communities are being forced to sell their assets, and borrow money and food to survive. Some 6.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, 3 million people cannot meet their daily food requirements and need urgent humanitarian assistance. UN humanitarian efforts, from UN agencies such as UN OCHA, World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF as well as on the ground NGO’s, are all in overdrive mode providing the a combination of food distribution, access and security as well as medical support and treatment. Cholera has now taken hold in remote areas as water sources become scarce and that available has become expensive to buy. Villagers affected, mostly in the southern part of the country, have resorted to drinking stagnant and dirty water with the last count of cholera victims now past 7,500. With the rainy season due in April, the probability of full-out famine will become a stark reality if the season again provides a lower than needed rainfall amount. (Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images)

Somali women and children wait in the shade under Acacia trees before being admitted into a World Food Program (WFP) registration camp in Central Mogadishu. According to a United Nations February 2017 report,

Photo: Giles Clarke/Getty Images

Recently arrived internally displaced children wait in a ‘wet-food’ line at a World Food Program center in Mogadishu, Somalia. Thousands of people have poured into the Somali capital over the past few weeks in search for food and water at the severe drought takes hold in remote rural regions. According to an United Nations February 2017 OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) report, famine could very soon be a reality in Somalia, largely due consecutive and severe drought. There are already worrying similarities to the situation in 2011, when 260,000 died. In the worst affected areas, chiefly rural communities, crops have been wiped out and livestock died, while communities are being forced to sell their assets, and borrow money and food to survive. Some 6.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, 3 million people cannot meet their daily food requirements and need urgent humanitarian assistance. UN humanitarian efforts, from UN agencies such as UN OCHA, World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF as well as on the ground NGO’s, are all in overdrive mode providing a combination of food distribution, access and security as well as medical support and treatment. (Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images)

Recently arrived internally displaced children wait in a ‘wet-food’ line at a World Food Program center in Mogadishu, Somalia. Thousands of people have poured into the Somali capital over the past few weeks in

Photo: Giles Clarke/Getty Images

A young Somali girl at a World Food Program registration center in the desert town of Wajid, some 300km west of Mogadishu. According to a United Nations February 2017 report, famine could soon be a reality in Somalia, largely due consecutive and severe drought. There are already worrying similarities to the situation in 2011, when 260,000 died. In the worst affected areas, chiefly rural communities, crops have been wiped out and livestock died, while communities are being forced to sell their assets, and borrow money and food to survive. Some 6.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, 3 million people cannot meet their daily food requirements and need urgent humanitarian assistance. UN humanitarian efforts, from UN agencies such as UN OCHA, World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF as well as on the ground NGO’s, are all in overdrive mode providing the a combination of food distribution, access and security as well as medical support and treatment. Cholera has now taken hold in remote areas as water sources become scarce and that available has become expensive to buy. Villagers affected, mostly in the southern part of the country, have resorted to drinking stagnant and dirty water with the last count of cholera victims now past 7,500. With the rainy season due in April, the probability of full-out famine will become a stark reality if the season again provides a lower than needed rainfall amount. (Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images)

A young Somali girl at a World Food Program registration center in the desert town of Wajid, some 300km west of Mogadishu. According to a United Nations February 2017 report, famine could soon be a reality in

Photo: Giles Clarke/Getty Images

A Somali woman looks for water a World Food Program (WFP) registration camp in Central Mogadishu. Many thousands are pouring into the Somali capital in search of food and water as the severe drought hits rural areas hard throughout Somalia. According to a United Nations February 2017 report, famine could soon be a reality in Somalia, largely due consecutive and severe drought. There are already worrying similarities to the situation in 2011, when 260,000 died. In the worst affected areas, chiefly rural communities, crops have been wiped out and livestock died, while communities are being forced to sell their assets, and borrow money and food to survive. Some 6.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, 3 million people cannot meet their daily food requirements and need urgent humanitarian assistance. UN humanitarian efforts, from UN agencies such as UN OCHA, World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF as well as on the ground NGO’s, are all in overdrive mode providing the a combination of food distribution, access and security as well as medical support and treatment. Cholera has now taken hold in remote areas as water sources become scarce and that available has become expensive to buy. Villagers affected, mostly in the southern part of the country, have resorted to drinking stagnant and dirty water with the last count of cholera victims now past 7,500. With the rainy season due in April, the probability of full-out famine will become a stark reality if the season again provides a lower than needed rainfall amount. (Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images)

A Somali woman looks for water a World Food Program (WFP) registration camp in Central Mogadishu. Many thousands are pouring into the Somali capital in search of food and water as the severe drought hits rural

Photo: Giles Clarke/Getty Images

Kaepernick assists Somalia relief flight

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Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is participating in an effort to bring relief to the people of Somalia and announced via a Twitter video Friday that he and his group have secured the use of a cargo plane to bring supplies to the impoverished east African nation.

“Amazing news, Turkish Airlines granted us an airplane to fly to Somalia, a 60-ton cargo plane so we can fly there with food, with water for these people,” said Kaepernick in the 43-second video. “Now we’ve started a GoFundMe page to allow anyone to help us donate food, donate water. We’ll make sure every cent goes to help these people.”

According to the page, the flight will take place March 27.

The GoFundMe page’s goal is $1 million; in its first four hours, more than 7,200 people had pledge more than $190,000 with both total increasing by the minute.

“This is a victory for the people, this is a victory for the people of Somalia,” said Kaepernick. “It was done out of love, out of respect for these people. We wanted to bring structure to this so we’re going to use the name Love Army for Somalia. So use the #LoveArmyforSomalia. This is amazing, let’s keep building, let’s keep going.”

The group is working the non-government organization American Refugee Committee and said on the GoFundMe page that Turkish Airlines had “agreed to let us ship food containers on their commercial aircraft to Somalia UNTIL THE END OF THE FAMINE!!!”

This is among the most high-profile philanthropic endeavors Kaepernick has ever participated in.

Last year, he attracted the national spotlight when he first sat on the bench, then knelt for the national anthem before 49er games to protest what he said was racial injustice in this country. The move landed him on the cover of Time magazine, but also made him a lightning rod for criticism in virtually every corner of the country from people who said he was disrespecting the anthem and the United States.

Kaepernick, 29, took the 49ers to the Super Bowl after the 2012 season, but his success on the field has declined significantly since then.

He made 11 starts in last season as the 49ers labored to a 2-14 record, but opted out of the final year of his contract with the 49ers earlier this month and is a free agent.

Mike Lerseth is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: mlerseth@sfchronicle.com. Twitter @MikeLerseth

 

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