The 2011 Horn of Africa drought is a severe drought that is affecting millions in the region due to the absence of seasonal rains for a long period of time. This has caused many crops to fail and subsequently affected the livestock of many poor and impoverished families. Experts have indicated to the humanitarian fraternity that rains are not expected to return until September 2011. This drought is said to be the worst in 60 years. The drought has caused a food crisis in the Horn of Africa which threatens the livelihood of more than 10 million people. Widespread famine occurs in Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, parts of Uganda and Kenya
AIF'S ROBUST RESPONSE FOR THE SOMALIAN FAMINE CRISIS
16 July 2011
PLEASE NOTE: THE FOLLOWING EVENTS RECORDED HEREIN ARE CONTRIBUTED BY OUR RELIEF TEAMS WHO HAVE VISITED SOMALIA. FOOD AID DISTRIBUTIONS AND MEDICAL AID TREATMENT CLINICS CONTINUE ON AN ONGOING BASIS AND ARE NOT NECESSARILY RECORDED HERE ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS.
1. 16 JULY 2011: At the invitation of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Co-Operation, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), an assessment team will leave for Mogadishu on Monday 18 July 2011 to join an assessment team in identifying the current to long term needs of the drought affected victms. Further updates to follow.
2. 20 JULY 2011: AIF team board a UN chartered flight together with OIC officials from Nairobi to Mogadishu, Somalia. Under tight security, the team visited various refugee camps housing thousands of under nourished men, women and children. The team witnessed severe malnutrition, disease and hunger in these camps. A detailed report will follow.
3. 22 JULY 2011: A relief aid package is being prepared in association with the OIC based in Jeddah who will provide logistical and other support to the AIF. AIF team to meet with OIC delegation in Jeddah on Sunday 24 July 2011 at the OIC headquarters to finalise arrangements. Team to represent AIF in Turkey on 28 July 2011 at the invitation of the OIC. Updates to follow.
4. 1 August 2011: AIF secures a FREE C130 Hercules Military Cargo plane FREE of charge from the Jordanian military. Aid will be airlifted to Mogadishu soon.
5. 11 AUGUST 2011: AIF's 2nd relief team arrives in the region. Request duas for the success of the mission.
6. 12 AUGUST 2011: AIF conducts a major distribution of food and relief items to hundreds of hungry families at the BUULO IDP REFUGEE CAMP . The team is shocked to witness first-hand the level of desperation and hunger. AIF concludes the day with meetings with different role players at the OIC office in Mogadishu.
7. 13 AUGUST 2011: The day begins with a scheduled, well-structured distribution at the ARIF IDP CAMP. Thanks goes out to our implementing partner, ZAM ZAM FOUNDATION for their professionalism and cooperation. The camp comprises small temporary shelters with an area of 1,5m by 1,5m housing up to 5 people. The make shift shelters are made of twigs, branches and scarves. A very sad sight indeed. Men, women and children live together in these camps. The team were taken aback when hearing the young children at this camp reciting Surah Dhuha fluently and beautifully. This brought tears to their eyes.
8. 13 AUGUST 2011: AIF holds a meeting with major role players and it is decided that a primary health centre for emergencies is required urgently as 6 babies died in the ARIF IDP Camp alone. The IDP's are in desperate need of medical attention at all the camps. A special request was also made for plastic sheeting as rains are expected in the near future. The make shift shelters are made of twigs, branches and scarves and this will not be effective during the rainy season.
9. 13 AUGUST 2011: Due to security reason, the distribution of food aid had to be postponed at the HIDAYA REFIGEE CAMP. This distribution will take place once our security detail give us the go ahead. We pray that peace will befall Somalia soon and the thousands of refugees will be alleviated from the pain, hunger and starvation.
10. 14 AUGUST 2011: AIF initiates a medical treatment clinic for the refugees at the WABERI IDP Camp, especially the undernourished and dehydrated children. It was a sad sight to once again witness the condition of these poor and impoverished people. Some young children were so undernourished and weak that they needed to be carried onto the weight scales so that their weight could be recorded for medical purposes. A sad day indeed but with a happy ending knowing that we were making a positive difference in these lives of these poor and suffering people. Over a thousand patients were attended to and received the appropriate medication.
11. 14 AUGUST 2011: AIF conducts a first-hand account to a group of influential individuals and role players in Johannesburg via a live linkup from Mogadishu, Somalia.
12. 15 AUGUST 2011: It was early start for the AIF team in Mogadishu, Somalia. Yacoob Vahed, founder and CEO of AIF had a live interview on Channel Islam International. This was an emotional interview with Br. Ebrahim Gangat. The AIF team with a group of local doctors carried out a medical clinic at the DIGFER IDP Camp to treat hundreds of poor IDP’s. Once again, the teams were shocked at the health conditions of the young children. It was sad to see that many kids and babies were just skeletons covered in little flesh. A sad sight indeed.
13. 16 AUGUST 2011: Medical rehabilitation is a serious issue regarding the thousands of IDP’s that have fled their homes in search of food. Due to undernourishment and lack of good food, their health has become vulnerable to disease causing their health to seriously deteriorate. Therefore AIF is conducting various medical treatment clinics across an array of IDP camps in the region. Today, another medical treatment clinic was setup at the TURDOR IDP Camp. It was an emotional day for the team members. Updates to follow.
14. 22 AUGUST 2011: Al Imdaad Foundation sets up a field office In Mogadishu to co-ordinate humanitarian activities within Somalia for the next 36 months after which a permanent office will be registered. Medium to long term projects under negotiation. Updates to follow.
15. 1 SEPTEMBER 2011: AIF begins preparation of its third relief team to Somalia. This team will include a group of journalists who will report back to donors and their respective communities. The team will comprise members from various countries.
16. 15 SEPTEMBER 2011: AIF's third relief team to Somalia will leave on the 30 September 2011. Your humble duas are requested for the success of the mission.
17. 30 SEPTEMBER 2011: AIF’s third humanitarian delegation leave South Africa to oversee ongoing relief efforts in Somalia. The team comprises of professional individuals from Australia, Zambia, and South Africa. The delegation will then report back to donors, communities etc. On how their funds are being utilised and the impacts of projects thus far.
18. 1 OCTOBER 2011: The third delegation reaches Mogadishu, Somalia.
19. 2 OCTOBER 2011: Before we leave, we are briefed by our implementing partners and AIF staff about where we will go and what we will see over the next few days. We are here to observe the distribution of aid as well as to assess the situation in order to determine what the next step of humanitarian action will be and then report back to our donors, communities and well wishers. We proceed to the first make shift clinic. On our way to the site we travel the roads of Mogadishu- there is destruction everywhere. Most of the buildings have been torn down by conflict. This is a prime reason as to why social infrastructure can never survive such conditions. The mother and child clinic is located at the Hamar Jajab district. Doctors here are treating children with vaccinations and tending to pregnant and old women whom are the most vulnerable and the worst affected by the drought and famine. The doctors at the clinic have dealt with approximately 2000 people per day at this site. A very important aspect of the medical needs is treating the severe malnutrition which most Somalians are affected by. A few streets away is the IDP camp (internally displaced camp) where we find Somalians from around the country have set up house. It is hot and the air humid. The camp is cramped and there are around a hundred plus tiny 2m by 2m hut like structures which house a family with around 5 to 6 people. Some of the painful images are of a baby who is being bathed in a bucket outside – the little child’s tummy is swelled from malnutrition. Further on we come across a home where the baby has just passed away, already so early on the journey we are left broken hearted by the suffering of the people. Next to the camp site there are huge pots of hot food being prepared for the residents along with the aid for distribution which will comprise a month’s supply of rice, flour and oil is being unpacked and layed out for the residence of this IDP camp.
20. 3 OCTOBER 2011: We visit the Maalin IDP camp at Hawal Wada District. We meet the medical personnel who are running the mobile medical clinics initiated by AIF. The que outside the structure where the doctors are tending to patients is very long and the crowd waiting to join the que is huge. We have an encounter with the children here. They are very curious and smile with delight and excitement when we give them our attention. One of the children Mohammed Hassas who is 5 years old chats to us. His parents are from Baidoa and they arrived in Mogadishu by bus. We ask him why they have come so far. He tells us because of the drought and that they need food. We asked him if he was afraid whilst on the journey and if it was dangerous. He simply answers NO! He tells me that they came to Mogadishu in search of hope. At this point we come across the most inspiring and also heart wrenching scene. A group of young children have formed a Duksi (learning class) in one corner of the camp and are engaged in the memorization of the Quraan. They are learning the Quraan from long wooden planks with Ayaats printed on it black ink. This is due to the lack of Mushafs (Quranic text in book format). The emotions that surface in an individual at this point are simply too much to find words to describe with. We leave the camp and quickly stop off at a site which is a possible location for a borehole. We learn that because they need to drill deep underground (+-300m to 400m), it requires a diamond tip drill which further escalates the cost. We then visit a section of the hospital in Mogadishu which is treating children with measles. There are approximately 40 children that I have counted in this one section alone and all the children have feeding tubes taped to their noses for intravenous feeding.
21. 4 OCTOBER 2011: We travel to Hamarwyne, the district is near the coast and it is extremely hot here. There are many people who are waiting to see the doctors. We have a chance to chat to the head of the medical program Dr Uwais. We ask him what are the main issues patients are facing. He informs us that coughs, diarrhea, skin rashes and malnutrition are quite common but there are also a lot of patients with severe medical problems that need immediate attention. He explains that they are doing the best in these difficult conditions.
A CAR BOMB IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO AIF'S FIELD OFFICE CAUSES TOTAL CARNAGE & DAMAGE
Our mission gets interrupted today by the news of the suicide bomb explosion about a block or two in front of where we are residing. The windows and doors of our guesthouse have been shattered and our hosts have taken us to a safe location at the Qatar Red Crescent. We take refuge here until the situation subsides and our guest house is cleared of dangerous shrapnel and debris. They have gone out of their way to ensure that the incident doesn’t affect us or impact negatively on our experience or relief operations. It takes a lot of courage to work in Somalia amidst the conflict and danger. Delivering humanitarian aid under such dangerous and dynamic conditions make this one of the most complex disasters that AIF has responded to.
22. 5 OCTOBER 2011: We are at the Holaradhhe District today. There is a warning sign on the wall with the picture of bomb artillery and land mines and which warns against going near it. It’s the first time we have seen this warning. We meet brother Ali Deeni, he is 82 years old and has lost his entire herd of cattle, 160 cows have died because of the drought. We also come across the system that is used to track and keep count of who gets accommodated at the various IDP camps. It seems that there is a process whereby Somalis from outside Mogadishu register and get placed in the camps. We move on and to a food distribution site at Medinah District. The site is called Walajir. This is a massive food aid distribution campaign. High valued food rations are distributed here to the IDP’s. That afternoon AIF take us to two locations, one of which will be the new hospital that will be administered and run by the Al Imdaad Foundation. They have settled on a 22 room building which is very suitable for the highly specialized and equipped hospital so desperately needed in Somalia. The team seems filled with enthusiasm after the visit - there is nothing as uplifting and inspiring than seeing a dream come closer to reality. How amazing that the dreams of Al-Imdaad are about serving humanity.
Al-Imdaad Foundation UK - 185 Audley Range, Blackburn, BB1 1TH, UK | Office Line: 01254 698771
Charity Commission Number 1140187