Twenty million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, 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.
In Somalia, Handicap International is working with other humanitarian organizations to train them about the needs of the most vulnerable people, including people with disabilities, older people, children, pregnant woman, and others. The goal of these awareness sessions is to ensure these individuals are not forgotten and their needs are met in each actor's emergency response.
The organization will also prioritize long-term access to water and food: “After months of severe drought, the rainy season, which is starting now, could spell disaster," explains Xavier Duvauchelle, the head of the organization’s programs in East and Southern Africa. "A second drought is expected from July. 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.”
Handicap International also plans to provide malnourished children with physical therapy. “Many malnourished children may need support from a physiotherapist to prevent the onset of permanent disabilities," Duvauchelle adds. *"*Children affected by famine may have a developmental delay caused by under nutrition. Malnutrition can also lead to respiratory infections and physical therapists can intervene to prevent complications.”
Under these circumstances, Handicap International may also organize awareness sessions to teach parents how to detect problems.
In South Sudan, Handicap International ensures the needs of people with disabilities, older people, pregnant women, children, and others are taken into account in humanitarian programs implemented by international aid organizations.
We plan to distribute food and water, supply rehabilitation care and provide psychological support sessions if needs are not adequately covered by humanitarian organizations already working in the field.
In Yemen, two years of fighting have given rise to widespread food insecurity: “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 organization’s emergency operations in Yemen. Handicap International’s teams in the field are currently assessing needs in view of a possible response.
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