Around 50 million people in Africa are suffering the effects of El Niño. Drought followed by flooding is threatening the lives of countless people, especially children, pregnant women and the elderly. Swiss Solidarity has decided to release 1 million francs immediately and launch an appeal for donations.
Eastern and southern Africa in particular are feeling the effects of El Niño. After one of the worst droughts ever linked to this climatic phenomenon, some regions, with Ethiopia being particularly hard hit, are currently experiencing major flooding caused by the region’s arid soils. Epidemics are starting to spread. “It is urgent to act now. Pastoral peoples have lost their livestock, and farmers have neither crops, seeds nor water. The affected governments are doing everything they can, but international aid is vital,” said Irene Flückiger, a project officer at Swiss Solidarity who has recently travelled to the region.
Swiss Solidarity’s partner organisations are already working on the ground in the affected countries and can quickly intervene on a greater scale in various countries hit by the phenomenon. To date, Swiss Solidarity has already used existing funds to support projects being carried out in Ethiopia by Vétérinaires sans Frontières and Helvetas. Their work is focusing on providing water, seeds and food for livestock, a form of intervention that is vital to the survival of the population. Activities which seek to bolster these populations’ disaster-resistance will be encouraged.
Swiss Solidarity has released 1 million francs to provide immediate assistance to affected populations. At the same time, the Foundation is launching today a fundraising campaign to finance a greater number of larger projects in the coming months. The fundraising efforts will continue through summer. “We know all too well that the tragedy going on in Africa today is not even on the media’s radar, but it is our duty to draw attention to forgotten crises like this one, especially given the urgency of the situation,” declared Tony Burgener, Director of Swiss Solidarity.
Donations may be made anytime either directly online, using the Swiss Solidarity app or via postal account 10-15000-6 (specify “Africa”).