Preparing for the worst humanitarian crisis in 70 years
Twenty million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and northeastern Nigeria have been grappling with a serious food crisis since 2016. Several East African countries have been hit by drought in recent months, including Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, South Sudan and, to a lesser extent, Tanzania. In some countries, conflicts have caused severe food shortages. Handicap International is preparing to deal with one of the worst humanitarian crises since the Second World War.
© E.Cartuyvels/Handicap International
- In Somalia, Handicap International will raise the awareness of humanitarian organisations and train them to ensure the needs of the most vulnerable people (people with disabilities, older people, children, pregnant woman and so on) are taken into account in their emergency response.
- The organisation will also prioritise long-term access to water and food.
“After months of severe drought, the rainy season, which is starting now, could spell disaster. A second drought is expected from July onwards. Our aim is therefore to give affected people sustainable access to food and water. This could entail digging wells and cultivating land to grow agricultural products resistant to climate change,” explains Xavier Duvauchelle, the head of the organisation’s programmes in East and Southern Africa.
- Handicap International also plans to provide malnourished children with physiotherapy care. Handicap International may also organise awareness sessions to teach parents how to detect problems.
“Many malnourished children may need support from a physiotherapist to prevent the onset of permanent disabilities. Children affected by famine may have a developmental delay caused by undernutrition. Malnutrition can also lead to respiratory infections and physiotherapists can intervene to prevent complications.”
- In South Sudan, Handicap International ensures the needs of vulnerable people (people with disabilities, older people, pregnant women, children, etc.) are taken into account in humanitarian programmes implemented by international aid organisations.
- In the regions where we work, we plan to distribute food and water, supply rehabilitation care and provide psychological support sessions if needs are not adequately covered by humanitarian organisations already working in the field.
- In Yemen, two years of fighting have given rise to widespread food insecurity Handicap International's team in the field are currently assessing needs in view of a possible response.
“The war in Yemen has seriously disrupted food imports and considerably reduced the livelihoods and sources of income of households,” says Arnaud Pont, the manager of the organisation’s emergency operations in Yemen.
- Handicap International works to support the care and treatment of South Sudanese refugees who, in addition to fleeing violence in their country, are facing a serious drought. The organisation wishes to specifically assist the most vulnerable people (people with disabilities, older people, pregnant women, etc.) and people with psychosocial impairments (people who are traumatised or isolated, etc). Uganda is now the third largest refugee-hosting country in the world.
- Handicap International is working to obtain international funding in order to deploy teams in aid of South Sudanese refugees who, in addition to fleeing violence in their country, are faced with a serious drought. This mission will also gather more detailed information on the situation in South Sudan where access to humanitarian aid is still extremely difficult, due to the security situation.
- Ethiopia is host to large numbers of South Sudanese refugees who are fleeing war and drought. The country has also been hit by famine. Handicap International runs physiotherapy sessions to assist the development of malnourished children. The association also ensures that water points and sanitary facilities are accessible for people with reduced mobility. In the regions of Gambella and Dire Dawa, the organisation aims at giving refugees and local people the means to cope with the climate crisis.