Background:

Drought and famine at the Horn of Africa

23 million people face starvation

by LKO, 2017/06/23

The situation at the Horn of Africa remains extremely critical: according to UN sources alone in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia und the South of Sudan more than 12 millions of people face starvation. Along with Djibouti, Eritrea, Nigeria and Uganda the number of affected people amounts to more than 23 millions. If the worst fears come true, the region faces a mass extinction and the biggest humanitarian disaster since the Second World War. But fast help remains a challenge.

Many of the regions affected by the famine do not only have to cope with the consequences of several scarce or even completely missed rainy seasons in the last three years, but also with political conflicts and the violent displacement of their people. Sadly, the failed state of Somalia is once again a showcase example of this development. Never-ending political power struggle and terrorism afflict especially its population in the countryside, where drought and Islamist control prevail. More than six million people depend on immediate disaster relief there.

Wasser Trinkwasser humedica Hungerhilfe Hungersnot Hungerkatastrophe Ostafrika

Water is scarce – people in the affected regions do not only lack food but also drinking water. Photo: humedica

Another problem: hunger is often followed by diseases as the immune system, weakened by deficient supply, is more vulnerable to infection diseases like diarrhoea or colds. Many people do not die directly from hunger, but from resulting illnesses. Particularly the poor health of the children, who live in these arid regions, causes major concern. They often have to travel for days on end with their mothers in search of drinking water and food.

humedica engages in regions, which are affected worst

Together with local partners humedica engages for the indigent people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somaliland.

In Kenya a relief project with the partner organisation Diguna provides 12.500 people with food. In the districts of Turkana, Pokot, Ukambani, Marasbit and Kwale, which suffer heavily from draught and hunger, helpers distribute sweet corn, beans, rice and cooking fat in order to secure the people´s adequate supply with calories.

Tanker lorries were able to bring 600 cubic meters of drinking water to the Somali region in the East of Ethiopia and to fill the empty water reservoir of the Hodley village. The so-called Birka had been emptied to the last drop, so that the 500 local families had to fetch their water from far away. The refilled Birka does not only provide the people with water, but also their cattle, which is vital for their survival.

A free ferry flight, organised in cooperation with the Airbus Foundation and supported by the Ethiopian Airlines, assisted humedica´s emergency relief work in Ethiopia. The transported nine tons of medicaments, food and medical emergency equipment were used to help 10.600 mal- and undernourished children in the struggling areas of the South and East of the country to strengthen their weakened immune system in order to avoid life-threatening consecutive ailments.

Hunger Hungerhilfe Hungerkatastrophe humedica Ostafrika Hilfsgüterflug Airbus

humedica initiated a variety of measures to fight the hunger – the ferry flight to Ethiopia was one of them. Photo: humedica

Also the long-term humedica relief projects in East Africa include presently many emergency relief measures for mal- and undernourished patients. In the refugee camps Melkadida and Kobe at the Ethiopian-Somali border the stationary medical humedica teams treat currently an increasing number of diseases caused by the deficient supply with clear drinking water and food.

The helpers are alarmed at the increasing number of patients with watery diarrhoea, a disease, which often ends fatal especially for children under five and older people if not treated properly. There is a growing concern that the difficult living conditions will lead to a cholera outbreak or even a cholera epidemic, which may claim thousand of lives. humedica prepares for a widespread outbreak of diarrhoea diseases in the camps by installing so-called Oral Rehydration Posts, contact points, where patients can quickly counterbalance their loss of fluid.

Further relief measures for the starving people in Somaliland are already planned. A truck convoy will transport about 40 tons of relief goods from the Ethiopian Addis Ababa to Hargeysa, the capital of the de facto independent Somaliland. „We are working under high-pressure to implement further relief operations for the victims of the hunger crisis in East Africa. Hopefully we will be able to send out another supply goods convoy in July at the latest, which will be another important step to alleviate the suffering of the people.“ explains Raphael Marcus, Head of Emergency and Disaster Response at humedica.

"Fight against hunger is a fight against time. It is vital to bring the help to the people, before it is too late.“

Raphael Marcus, Head of Emergency and Disaster Response at humedica

humedica depends on your support to continue its help in East Africa. Please become part of our fight against the famine and help people on site with your donation. Thank you so much.

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