August 2017 / Insight
Shining A Light on
East Africa’s Humanitarian Crisis
There is no quick fix to the drought that is spreading like wildfire across East Africa, a situation that the UN is prophesying could be ‘the worst humanitarian crisis’ in the history of their organisation.
In Somalia, it’s estimated that half of the population of 12.3 million people need humanitarian assistance; according to the UN, half a million people have fled their homes since November in search of food and water.
‘Al Shabab, three years without rain, and now cholera. A lethal combination,’ writes John Ray, Africa Correspondent for ITV, who was in Somalia to cover the crisis. ‘For the moment hunger is not the main danger. The drought has brought disease and disease has brought death from dirty water in dried out wells and poor hygiene. The most feared is cholera; it can kill in hours, preying on bodies already weakened by malnutrition.’
In Somalia, security challenges abound – thanks to the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab certain areas are difficult to access safely – not to mention the political and funding challenges. Remembering the devastation of the Somalia drought in 2011, where 260 000 people starved to death, humanitarian aid agencies such as UNICEF and World Vision are working hard to protect Somalia’s most vulnerable from a similar fate. Then there are the international media organisations such as ITN who broadcast the realities of the disaster to the world, urging the aid givers to keep giving.
Hart Nationwide, the Somalia based arm of risk management company Hart, played their small but essential part in enabling ITN cover the growing crisis, providing the team with mobile security in Mogadishu for filming at Banadir Children’s hospital.
‘The hospital was a new venue for us so a lot of work and planning went into preparing for the mission – which I’m happy to say went smoothly,’ says Frank Philip, Hart Nationwide Country Manager. ‘They were able to get the required footage, and get the message out there about the good work UNICEF is achieving. With so many children and families at risk it’s an urgent story to publicise and I’m proud that Hart Nationwide could support that.’
Hopefully the international news teams keep on coming to Somalia to share the story as it unfolds. Is it possible that the story can become a new one, where the worst humanitarian crisis in the UN’s history is avoided? Whatever happens, Hart Nationwide is there to support those making a difference in Somalia.