“Seeing the disaster approach is terrible”

by Steffen Richter/RBU,  2012/03/02

In summer 2011, the world public was confronted with a famine disaster at the Horn of Africa, the extent of which could hardly be worse. Current developments in the so-called Sahel region are proof that the overall situation on the African continent is very unstable and that provisions for millions of people strongly depend on the uncertain climatic conditions.

The famine disaster is approaching. Let us take action together, in order to fight the consequences. Photo: humedica/Alina Kuffner und Manuela Kiechle

Now, another famine disaster is looming over the region. According to the World Food Programme of the United Nations, this event requires immediate food shipments of a volume of 570,000 tons for a total of eight million people. Since 2005, humedica has been continuously active in Niger, the worst affected country in the Sahel, and runs a small hospital in Kollo.

The people in Niger are aware of the threat; it has become a regular topic of conversation and people are very much afraid of suffering hunger”, report the two paediatric nurses Alina Kuffner and Manuela Kiechle, who returned to Germany a few days ago after a stay of five months in Niger. “The government is trying to make preparations, but the forecasts for 2012 and 2013 are incredibly dire, the so far last harvest has mostly been used up even by now.

The supply situation for the people in the Sahel has long since undergone first dramatic deteriorations. Other relief organisations active in the region expect that one million children alone are threatened by acute undernutrition. The World Food Programme estimates the number of people who urgently need help in Niger at 3.3 million. Other countries affected are Mali, Chad, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mauretania and Cameroon.

The situation in West Africa is dramatic and we are already intensifying our relief efforts, above all in Niger”, confirms Wolfgang Groß, humedica CEO. “For this purpose, our small hospital in Kollo offers us very efficient possibilities as a base for various relief measures.

The already existing nutrition programme is to be expanded. Food distributions of local food are planned to entire families. So far, we have taken care above all of undernourished children below the age of six and of women; a total of about 6,000 persons since May 2011.

Starting from eight health centres supported by humedica within the region of Kollo, we furthermore organise targeted visits to villages, with the objective of analysing the nutrition situation and initiating early counter measures. At the German headquarters in Kaufbeuren, a relief shipment of drugs and medical equipment is being prepared.

By measuring its arm circumference, paediatric nurse Manuela Kiechle determines the little child’s degree of undernourishment. Photo: humedica/Aline Kuffner

Unfortunately, the disaster has so far hardly been addressed by the media; but now is the time to take action and to do everything possible within our power in order to help the people”, Wolfgang Groß calls for support.

Also Manuela Kiechle thinks a lot about the situation. “To know that the disaster is approaching, and that a severe famine, which can however not really be prevented, will soon affect the people, is terrible. An earthquake strikes without prior warning. It happens and you can only try to do your best afterwards. But you can see the famine disaster approaching even now.

Dear friends of our work: we cannot prevent a famine disaster. We cannot do anything against droughts and crop failures. But by means of intensifying the humedica relief measures in particular in Niger, we can prevent the consequences of the famine reaching the same extent as at the Horn of Africa. Please support our efforts.

      humedica e. V.
      Donation reference “Famine relief Sahel
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

You can also make a great contribution to the fight against the famine by sending a short text message: send the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90 and you will be charged 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into the humedica relief projects. Thank you very much.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

Update my browser now×