REPORTER: Milward Mwamvani – International Aid Services
Three weeks ago I returned from visiting the Sanaag Region of Somaliland/Somalia, following up on IAS’ various interventions. It was initially very encouraging to see the sprouting grass and fresh shoots from the desert bushes – a positive contrast from my last visit to the region in April following some brief rains in the area. Driving through the wilderness, my colleagues lamented the fact that these places used to be populated by a lot of livestock (camels, goats, sheep), but now one could just spot a few clusters of animals here and there – effects of a devastating drought.
The communities of largely nomadic herders are devastated! Many seem to be in shock from the loss of unbelievably high numbers of their livestock. Some of the people I got a chance to talk to had migrated from the area at the peak of the drought to go east in Puntland in search for pasture for their livestock, but they were back in the area, telling the same story that everyone can tell – tremendous loss …
Going to the north-west of Garadag in the region, the brief smiles disappeared from our faces as we got into a part of the region that had not received any of the rains the other parts had seen. One could clearly see the desperation in talking to members of the community. If these rains fail again, this can be catastrophic.
As we continue to serve among the people of Sanaag, our hope is that there will be some turn around in the climatic conditions. We are thankful to various donors from Denmark, Germany, the USA, and Sweden who have enabled us to provide some of the most affected communities with food, water, and medical supplies for a health centre. As we continue to hope for the best for the people of Sanaag, we trust that others will join in the efforts to ensure that these precious people not only survive this devastating drought, but also recover to get back to self-sustaining communities.
ANGOLO EAST VILLAGE – Ailang District – UGANDA
Walking long distances to fetch water takes time and effort. The heavy responsibility usually falls upon women and girls which means that girls don’t have time to go to school. Walking long distances is also a safety issue because of the risk of assault.
Therefore, we are always striving to ensure shortest distance possible, for people to walk to the nearest waterpoint. Our goal is that a person should have to walk maximum 500 meters to fetch water. By doing this we create safety and also reduce exclusion!
10,242 PUPILS FROM 37 SCHOOLS
School feeding in Tharaka – KENYA
In Tharaka Nithi County, one of the semi-arid regions of Kenya, where the rains are erratic and unreliable making reliance on them untenable. Water levels continue to go down giving rise to water and food scarcity.
With the prevailing drought and the looming hunger, mothers in Tharaka County, Kenya send their children to school on an empty stomach. How can a child make it through the day without anything to eat? A hungry child cannot play. A hungry child cannot learn. A hungry child cannot concentrate. Fatigued and weary, these children faint in schools; their immunity systems become weak and eventually drop out of schools.
Plate for plate! – The project was introduced at the beginning of the year 2015.Today we are able to feed a total of 10,242 pupils from 37 different schools in Tharaka South. The project will expand in the coming years. Our partner – Linas Matkasse, with the recommendations of nutritionists, has planned a healthy and delicious lunch for the children going to school. This includes beans, corn, rice and onions. All the ingredients are purchased locally and then cooked by the school cook. It is a sight for sore eyes to see these children line up at lunch time, holding their plastic bowls and wearing a gigantic smile in anticipation of their meal.
SPONSOR A SCHOOL LUNCH!
Help a child concentrate, learn and enjoy the beauty of life by a simple act. Help dig out a bright future that these angels deserve!
(Text by Nida Nausherwan & Rebecka Woods. Updated by HB 2 May 17)
REPORTER: Milward Mwamvani
“I had one hundred animals (sheep, goats and camels), but now I only have 20, and I do not know how long they will survive.” These were the words of Hawa Darmar in Tura Village, Garadag District of Sanaag Region, Somaliland.
The IAS Humanitarian Coordinator Milward Mwamvani was in the village for a fact-finding mission and monitoring of a drought-response intervention. After several meetings with stakeholders both in Nairobi and Hargeisa, this was an eye opener. For some time, IAS has been receiving updates on the drought situation in the areas where we have been actively engaging in various projects both in the past and presently.
The drought situation has become dire in the area, as reports also confirm the general situation in Somalia/Somaliland. The story of Hawa is just one of the many sad stories that are told in this area, and other areas affected by the drought. Hawa has been displaced by the drought as she tries to find means to survive the crisis.
Moursul Salaa Hamid is one of the people affected in Taygara village. Here is how our chat went on April 12, 2017:
Milwards Question: What is your livelihood here?
Moursal: I keep livestock.
Q: How many did you have?
Moursal: I had 690 animals (600 goats and sheep, and 90 camels)
Q: How many do you have now?
Moursal: I have 20 camels and 30 goats and sheep remaining
Q: How big is your family?
Moursal: There are eleven of us in my home.
Q: You have received 25kg of rice, 25kg wheat flour, 3 liters cooking oil and 10kg dates. How long do you think these will last?
Moursal: Maybe about 15 days.
Q: What will you do after that?
Moursal: We will wait for God to act.
This is a story that can be told by many. Talking to Huse Mire Ali, a Village Elder in Shiisha Village, he expressed that he has never seen anything like the present situation in his lifetime, with villagers suffering due to lack of food and water. He hoped that his people would get more help.
IAS seeks to continue responding in the Sanaag Region and other affected areas. A lot of money is needed to get enough food and water for the people and their animals to avert a worse disaster in the area. As water has been brought to the community in trucks, the signs are that the current water source is about to dry up. One of the drivers of the trucks explained that they were presently getting the water from a place about 120km away from this particular location. He also indicated that soon they may have to get the water as far as 170km. The rains are considered late already, and everyone is now panicking, not knowing what could happen beyond this… Will you partner with us and support us to respond to the crisis in Somalia/Somaliland?
/Milward Mwamvani photo and text, on location April 2017 (post created & updated 19 Apr – HB)
PICTURES: Håkan Björk
VOICE (Volontary Organisations in Cooperation in Emergencies)
What should the EU´s humanitarian priorities be in 2017/2018?
VOICE, with it’s swedish members organized a “roundtable” with the intention to bring together the national humanitarian perspectives from the Scandinavian countries with the European perspective.
- EU Humanitarian Aid in 2017/2018 – Policy Framework
- Bridging between humanitarian and development aid
- The Grand Bargain
- Workshop on Grand Bargain
Among other participants;
Niklas Winberg – Head of section for Humanitarian Affairs, Swedish MINISTRY For FOREIGN AFFAIRS.
Chiara Gariazzo – Director, ECHO, European Commission
Kathrin Schick – Director, VOICE
CHAIR – Floris Faber – ACT ALLIANCE EU OFFICE
Jessica Hedman – Humanitarian Aid Coordinator, PMU
Anna Garvander – Head of Humanitarian Team/International Department, CHURCH OF SWEDEN
Marek Stys – Head of Emergency & External Relation, PEOPLE IN NEED
CHAIR – Ester Asin – SAVE THE CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL EU LIASON OFFICE
Nicolas Borsinger – President, VOICE
Daniel Zetterlund – CEO, INTERNATIONAL AID SERVICES
Magali Mourlon – VOICE secretariat
See the film above. IAS is on ground – responding to the South Sudan refugee crisis – together with other sister agencies, and the challenge is huge since there isn’t sufficient funds to take care of this immense catastrophe.(Photo: Andreas Zetterlund – Edit: Håkan Björk)
Below pictures: SVT (Swedish Television) Johan Ripås interview with IAS Juliet Namukasa on the 23rd February 2017.
Above pictures: IAS is hosting SVT (Swedish Television) Johan Ripås to report to sweeds via TV-news; RAPPORT (24 Feb 2017, time 19:30) – and more at SVT. (Pictures: Julius Bitamazire)
The young girl is called Gonya Rose (12 years). She was in Primary 4. Her mother died before the war and the Father remained in Juba. They have no idea if he is alive or dead.
Below slideshow of pic’s from IAS visit to a new refugee settlement late July 2016 – (Pictures: Julius Bitamazire and team)
Read more here (www.mynewsdesk.com)
REPORT BY – Milward Mwamvani – Humanitarian Coordinator – IAS
As we commemorate this World Humanitarian Day (August 19th, 2016), IAS reflects on current trends and issues in the Humanitarian circles. The Humanitarian situation around the world continues to pose many challenges, as needs increase, and the response capacity is usually limited due to financial restrictions. As natural disasters affect communities, many others are also being affected by man-made disasters, including wars and terrorism, which put humanitarian workers in harm’s way increasingly.
Despite this, IAS continues to engage in some of the most hard-to-reach areas and seek to alleviate the human suffering there. IAS is actively responding to various humanitarian situations in different countries. Notable in the past three months are rapid responses that IAS has engaged in as various disasters have unfolded.
In response to flooding that happened in Sri Lanka in May 2016, IAS partnered with local actors and rose up to alleviate the suffering of affected people. The floods led to the overflowing and back-flowing of toilet systems in the poorer areas of the city, in addition to the loss of household properties as water filled houses to about 6 feet for seven days. IAS responded by helping with the cleaning up of household and communal toilets in selected neighbourhoods of Kollonawa, Colombo, with the aim to enhance hygiene conditions and save lives. Outside the city of Colombo, in Hanwella, shallow water wells were filled with over-the-ground water, making the water unsafe for human consumption.
While a well-cleaning response was just commencing, part of the area was hit by another disaster as an army ordnance depot blew up and led to substantive destruction of property, including water wells. A response in the area has brought hope and smiles to the affected communities as they were struggling to find clean water. Above these, the dignity of women and children has been upheld by the provision of basic survival hygiene items.
Pictures: Sathees Kumar – Sri Lanka
Attacks by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region of Niger in June 2016 led to the displacement of communities in the area, with many of them flocking to the town of Diffa in Eastern Niger. IAS, being already engaged in the provision of clean water to the IDP communities there, engaged in the provision of basic household survival kits to help the newly displaced people. The basic critical household items, and some food, have helped the affected people to begin rebuilding their lives in difficult circumstances.
Pictures: Milward Mwamvani – Diffa, Niger
The effects of the El Nino phenomenon have been felt in various countries in Africa, mostly indicated by severe food and water shortages. IAS has been working in the Borena Zone of Ethiopia for several years, working on alleviating the acute shortage of potable water. With the setting in of this current drought, IAS has embarked on the provision of emergency water through truck deliveries, while the longer-term solution is being sought by the drilling of boreholes and construction of water collection ponds. This will help in alleviating the suffering of communities and control the forced migration that would have occurred due to the need.
Picture: Ketema Kinfe – IAS Ethiopia
While IAS has been engaged in responding to the crisis-affected communities in South Sudan over the past two years both in South Sudan and Uganda, the fresh outbreak of hostilities in Juba on July 7, 2016 has led to new levels of humanitarian needs. Leading to the evacuation of staff and temporary suspension of activities among affected people in South Sudan itself, the flight of South Sudanese women and children across the border and influx into Uganda has challenged the humanitarian community. Conditions continue to be dire in the reception centres and newly opened villages. IAS is responding to the WASH needs of the displaced people and striving to help them rebuild their lives. With most of the men restricted from leaving South Sudan, the women and children that arrive face many challenges (see our earlier story at http://www.ias-intl.org/response-to-the-South-Sudan-crisis).
Pictures: Julius Bitamazire and team – IAS Uganda
Facing the Challenge
So, as we commemorate this day, we think of the communities that have suffered, and continue to suffer, not only in Sri Lanka, Niger, Ethiopia, and South Sudan/Uganda, but also those in other places facing dire needs. We appreciate our supporting partners, largely in Sweden and Denmark, who have encouraged us and mobilised financial resources to enable us respond accordingly. So, as IAS we will rise up, hold hands with supporting partners, and engage in saving lives in the other hard-to- reach regions of Yemen, Lake Chad Region, Syria, Somalia, and beyond, and alleviate the suffering of communities in those areas, as we remain Fit for Purpose.
Milward Mwamvani – Humanitarian Coordinator – International Aid Services