Climate disaster in Africa

El Niño in Africa: Swiss Solidarity appeals for donations

  • 14.06.2016
  • Climate disaster in Africa

© Keystone

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 NGOs working in 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.

1 million francs made available immediately
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”).

    Swiss Solidarity is a foundation, started as an initiative of the Swiss public media SRG SSR | Partnership & collaboration

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    One picture often says more than a thousand words. Thanks to the partnership with the internationally operating Swiss picture agency Keystone, Swiss Solidarity has free and rapid access to recent pictures at any time. 

    The Keystone picture agency takes a Swiss view of our country and the world. A team of 20 full-time photographers throughout Switzerland as well as international partner agencies ensure that no current event is missed. As the largest picture agency in Switzerland, Keystone has an almost unending store of material on Swiss social history (around 11 million archive images).




    A national fundraising day is unthinkable without the means of Swisscom: In six regional fundraising centers, provided by Swisscom as well, between 120 and 150 phone lines are in use. This meant that, at the Tsunami’s fundraising day, over 70’000 calls were managed. On fundraising days, this service is free of charge.

    The internet as a means of communication is vital for Swiss Solidarity, too. Therefore, Swisscom supports Swiss Solidarity’s web presence year after year with a considerable contribution. Swisscom (formerly PTT) has been an abiding partner for Swiss Solidarity for over sixty years.


    SRG SSR alt

    Swiss Solidarity originated in 1946 from a radio show in western Switzerland – the first fundraising campaign was for the benefit of the orphans of World War II. The idea became more and more successful, and in 1983, Swiss Solidarity was granted the status of a foundation initiated by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG. Today, Swiss Solidarity is a foundation that raises funds for humanitarian relief projects and works with the SRG SSR.

    On national solidarity and fundraising days, Swiss Solidarity demonstrates just what is meant by «idée suisse»: The solidarity and support of Switzerland’s entire population. This is only possible because the SRG SSR idée suisse supports Swiss Solidarity with its free broadcastings. Swiss Solidarity itself is – with a few exceptions – not a relief organization, but rather a solidarity network, cooperating with 25 relief organizations.

    Additionally, the company’s entities SRF, RTS, RTR, RSI are all represented in the foundation board.