Oxfam International Blogs - starvation http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/starvation en Silent starvation in Chad's Lake Region http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-10-16-silent-starvation-chads-lake-region <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>Oxfam media officer Maria Jose Agejas Santamaria visited Chad last month with photographer <a href="https://twitter.com/PavlobskiRoisen" rel="nofollow">Pablo Tosco</a>. The stories they returned with are harrowing. On this World Food Day, please pause a minute to read and share.</em></p><p>In one corner of the world, in the region of Lake Chad, millions of people have, for 8 years, been suffering the consequences of Boko Haram attacks and the military response. Except for notorious episodes such as the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chibok_schoolgirls_kidnapping" rel="nofollow">kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls</a>, the tragedy is treated with indifference by almost everyone. This is even more the case in Chad where this indifference translates into a serious lack of the funding which would enable people, such as those who have spoken to us, to escape from this dire situation. This is what the people there say.</p><p><strong>“We used to live like lords.</strong> We could buy whatever we wanted. We used to eat nice things.” Sitting at the door of his hut, Ibrahim remembers how his former life was like paradise. He remembers when he used to fish with one of his sons. “One dealt with the nets, the other steered the canoe. Then we grilled the fish at home and it was there and then ready to sell.” The women looked after the vegetable plots and the goats. Collections of fruit and plants from the woods were additional jobs and supplemented their diet.</p><p><strong>"Until one day we heard the name Boko Haram,</strong>" he continues. Behind the name came the men who embody it. "We managed to get away safe and sound with our (nine) children, but we lost some of our relatives."</p><p><strong>Ibrahim now goes hungry.</strong> He lives more than three hours away from the lake and his sole link with water is to carry it for people and animals in order to get a few cents with which he tries to cover his needs.</p><h3>The "disease" of hunger</h3><p><strong>Hunger was precisely</strong> what carried off Mohamed when he was six years old, in a camp for displaced persons a few kilometers from where the fisherman lives. "His stomach made noises. He had diarrhea," says his father Adoum Hassane. "When we took the child to the health center, the nurse said: 'It is not a disease, it is hunger'."&nbsp; The worn out and emaciated bodies of Adoum and Hadija, his wife, are alone sufficient to explain how tough the twelve months have been since they fled their home.</p><p>Haoua is a neighbor of Adoum’s. They live in a barren camp where there are no services except a well repaired by Oxfam. They came here from the same site a year and a half ago, after Boko Haram men plundered their village and killed 18 people.</p><p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/O1e_CRb0Gg8?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" height="360" frameborder="0" width="640"></iframe></p><p><strong>“They came during Ramadan.</strong> There was hardly a moment for a drink of water when we heard the noise of weapons.”&nbsp; “Tac,” she imitates, without a muscle of her face moving. Without giving it a thought, she grabbed her children, put four things on her head, and walked for a month. On the way, people in the villages she went through gave her mats to sleep on, pots and cups.&nbsp;</p><h3>Life was good</h3><p>Haoua tells us what life was like before Boko Haram: "We had goats, donkeys, cultivated plots… Life was good."</p><p>"I had never thought that one day I would find myself in this situation," says Fatima for her part when we asked if she had ever imagined that she would be a displaced person, who would flee empty-handed from her home in search of safety. Neither is she able to explain what motivates the members of Boko Haram to attack the civilian population: "They kill their fathers, their mothers and their children. We don’t know why."</p><p><strong>The war has ruined the lives of millions</strong> of people. We talk about 17 million people in the basin of the lake in Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and Chad. More than 10 million people depend on humanitarian aid, because they cannot cultivate, sell, fish, or produce anything at all.</p><h3>A devastating conflict</h3><p>Despite living in a forgotten region, Lake Chad - in one of the poorest countries on earth - Adoum, Ibrahim, Haoua, and Fatima had economic activities that allowed them to survive, thanks to the fish in the Lake and the fertility of the islands and the land around it.</p><p>It was not a wonderful life: well before the war, all this basin was experiencing an already challenging environment, with the effect of a changing climate (and the resulting shrinking of the lake) and the lack of infrastructure and basic services. But the conflict has had an even more disastrous effect on the fragile stability of these people.</p><p>Attacks by Boko Haram and military operations have meant that they can now only dream of that lost world. A world that now, stranded as they are in the middle of nowhere, they remember as a lost paradise.</p><h3>Oxfam is there</h3><p><strong>Chad</strong> is ranked 186th out of 188 countries in terms of wealth. Within its own territory, the Lake region is one of the poorest. There are only 10 doctors in the area providing health services. Illiteracy is high and the schooling rate is at 37%. Well under five out of every ten people don’t have clean drinking water. In addition, to its own conflict and developmental challenges, Chad has also to cope with refugees from its neighbors, Sudan and Central African Republic.</p><p>Oxfam works in the Daboua area in the<strong> Lake Chad</strong> region and so far we have supported more than 50,000 people with potable water or cash to cover their most basic needs. Our work also focuses on finding long-term solutions for the displaced population, and on getting them to have access to birth certificates and other documentation.</p><p>In northeast <strong>Nigeria</strong> we have helped about 350,000 people affected by the crisis in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states since May 2014. Our intention is to help up to 500,000 people in 2017.</p><p>We provide people with emergency food support and cash and vouchers so they can buy food from local markets, clean water and better sanitation, including constructing showers and toilets. We are distributing food and cooking equipment, as well as providing seeds and tools to help traders and farmers.</p><p>In <strong>Niger</strong>, we are installing water systems to make sure people have clean water to drink and distributing essential items such as cooking pots, buckets and water purifying tablets. We are providing food assistance and support to income generating activities for IDPs and refugees.</p><p><em>Oxfam is calling for the Chad Government to ensure that the safety, security and protection of civilians is made a more important part of its military operations. It should support communities in finding new economic activity in their current location and in returns areas.</em></p><p><em>International donors must immediately fully fund the <a href="https://fts.unocha.org/appeals/532/summary" rel="nofollow">2017 Humanitarian Response Plan</a>.</em></p><p><em>This entry posted by Maria Jose Agejas Santamaria, Oxfam Media Officer, on 16 October 2017, based on her trip to Chad last month.</em></p><h3>What you can do now</h3><p><strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/west-africa-crisis" rel="nofollow">Support Oxfam's response to the West Africa Food Crisis</a></strong><br><br><br></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Silent starvation in Chad&#039;s Lake Region</h2></div> Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:34:21 +0000 Maria Jose Agejas Santamaria 81251 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-10-16-silent-starvation-chads-lake-region#comments Helping a Yemeni village fight hunger http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-08-17-helping-yemeni-village-fight-hunger <div class="field field-name-body"><p>We drive west through steep rocky terrain, dotted with ancient mountaintop fortresses studded with tall circular towers of rough-hewn stone. Rural Yemen is serene, isolated and medieval. We are heading from Oxfam’s emergency humanitarian office in Khamer, in the northern tribal heartland of Amran governorate, to Othman village on its western edge. <br><br>Othman’s 200 families are battling hunger, like many others across Yemen.</p><p><strong>A perilous drive</strong></p><p><img alt="Osman village in Amran governorate, A ‘Lord of the Rings’ village where 200 families are fighting hunger. Credit: Mohammed Farah Adam/Oxfam" title="Osman village in Amran governorate, A ‘Lord of the Rings’ village where 200 families are fighting hunger. Credit: Mohammed Farah Adam/Oxfam" height="600" width="900" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/yemen_dry_landscape.jpg" /><em>Osman village in Amran governorate,&nbsp; A ‘Lord of the Rings’-looking village where 200 families are fighting hunger. Credit: Mohammed Farah Adam/Oxfam</em></p><p>The drive is nerve-wracking. Our driver Abdullah says pointedly he has been driving for 10 years around these hairpin turns and vertical cliff-face drops. I think he’s noticed how scared I am. <br><br>We wave to some men and women working the tiny cultivated terraces, and to curious child shepherds moving goats and sheep through the sun-baked mountains.<br><br>We lose mobile phone reception and modern-day communication. After one and half hour of perilous ride over 27 kilometers, we descend into a valley dotted with fields of sorghum, and to a hamlet of scattered stone dwellings in the cliffs high above the valley floor. <br><br>This is Othman village.&nbsp; <br><br><strong>Food is scarce</strong><br><br>Othman’s people eke out life in stricken conditions. Food is mostly homemade bread and a boiled wild plant known locally as Cissus or Hallas. We’re here to measure how Oxfam’s cash assistance project of $98 per month for each extremely poor family has helped put food on their tables and avert starvation.</p><p><img alt="Boiled, the wild plant Cissus or Hallas as locally known, is the main food along with homemade bread that people eat in Osman village. Credit: Mohammed Farah Adam / Oxfam" title="Boiled, the wild plant Cissus or Hallas as locally known, is the main food along with homemade bread that people eat in Osman village. Credit: Mohammed Farah Adam / Oxfam" height="600" width="900" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/hallas_plant_food_yemen.jpg" /><em>Boiled, the wild plant Cissus or Hallas as locally known, is the main food along with homemade bread that people eat in Osman village. Credit: Mohammed Farah Adam/Oxfam</em><br><br>There were 80 severely malnourished children in Othman. Oxfam set up cash assistance projects around the Khamer district, with other agencies, to buttress their battle against starvation. The children got health treatment from our partners, while Oxfam gave cash to the most desperate of the families here. We also ran a program to raise their awareness about malnutrition and good hygiene.<br><br><strong>No teachers for the schools</strong><br><br>At Othman school, a frail old man whirls black prayer beads through his fingers, leaning against the wall of a classroom. The school rooms are used for community meetings only now. There are no teachers in Othman.<br><br>The village announcer shouts out over the loudspeaker: “Oxfam is here to monitor the conditions of the malnourished children.” Curious folk join us. Parents have dressed their children, who before had been on the brink of death, in their very best clothes. They seem well on the mend. Over the four-month duration of our cash assistance project in Othman we’ve reduced malnutrition by 62%.</p><p>Though pale, these children are no longer on the verge of starvation.</p><p><strong>You’ve saved our lives</strong></p><p>Nine-month-old Mohamed Amin, the youngest of five siblings and still tiny, is cradled by his father. He has certainly been saved from an early unnecessary death, by a small assistance.</p><p>Crammed into a classroom, we ask about Oxfam’s work. How many times do you eat a day? How is the baby’s condition?&nbsp; What do you do for a living?&nbsp; And so on.</p><p><strong><img alt="Rabee Qassem holds his young daughter while worrying for her future. He&#039;s one of thousands that used to receive Oxfam&#039;s cash assistance in Amran governorate. Credit: Mohammed Farah Adam / Oxfam" title="Rabee Qassem holds his young daughter while worrying for her future. He&#039;s one of thousands that used to receive Oxfam&#039;s cash assistance in Amran governorate. Credit: Mohammed Farah Adam / Oxfam" height="600" width="900" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="3" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/yemen_family.jpg" /></strong><em>Rabee Qassem holds his young daughter while worrying for her future. He's one of thousands that used to receive Oxfam's cash assistance in Amran governorate. Credit: Mohammed Farah Adam/Oxfam<strong> </strong></em></p><p>Children smirk at my Arabic as their parents take turn in answering. Others nod along. <br><br>“Your assistance saves our lives,” says Rabee Qassem, holding his young daughter. <br><br><strong>The effects of war</strong><br><br>Many of these villagers used to work on small farm plots along the valley but their incomes were so meagre they could no longer afford their essential needs when the price of basic commodities skyrocketed due to the conflict and the de-facto blockade of Yemen. &nbsp;<br><br>Since the war exploded open in March 2015, more than <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-38646066" rel="nofollow">10,000 Yemenis have been killed</a> and 17 million people – 60 percent of the population – do not now have enough to eat. More than <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/mar/16/yemen-conflict-7-million-close-to-famine" rel="nofollow">7 million of them</a> are a step away from famine.<br><br>As they were here in Othman.<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/crisis-yemen/yemen-brink-conflict-pushing-millions-towards-famine" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong></strong></a><br><br><strong>Hope for peace</strong><br><br>I ask the mother of 10-months old Marwan about her hopes. She takes a deep breath, a moment of silence and as she gathers her thoughts, and tears well up. “Peace! My only hope is peace,” she says. Others nod. <br><br>At the end of our meeting, I had to announce the news. “We have run out of money to continue the cash assistance.”<br><br>Their banter dies down to silence. “But why? Our situation is still miserable,” Mohamed Amin’s father says. <br><br>“The cash assistance project was funded by donors for only a specific period of time, which has come to an end. We are still looking for more donor funds but we haven’t secured any yet,” I explain. “We know your situation and we are doing our best.”<br><br>“Thank you. God will help,” says the old man with the beads.</p><p><strong><img alt="IDPs collecting water from the water distributions point at Al-Manjorah IDP&#039;s camp, Yemen. Photo: Moayed Al.Shaibani/Oxfam" title="IDPs collecting water from the water distributions point at Al-Manjorah IDP&#039;s camp, Yemen. Photo: Moayed Al.Shaibani/Oxfam" height="600" width="900" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="4" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/105265_ogb_yemen.jpg" /></strong><em>Oxfam water distribution point. Photo: Moayed Al.Shaibani/Oxfam</em><br><br>It is a wretched time. Our program was funded for four-months and – although this was made clear at the start – the people of Othman are dismayed now and afraid. It’s my job to start winding-down this part of our work now that we only have a month left of funding toward it.<br><br>We hoped to maintain it. We tried. It saved their lives. But the cruel truth is that earlier this year, the big aid donors made the tough decision to triage their money only to goverornates that were at “level 4” emergency status – that is, one level below famine. <br><br>Although still itself in an emergency situation as a village, Othman is part of a goverornate – Amran – that is classified overall as “level 3”. Therefore, there are other goverornates which are, overall, in worse straits. <br><br>Othman no longer makes the cut.<br><br>This is exactly what we mean when we say Yemen is an “<a href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21496&amp;LangID=E" rel="nofollow">overwhelming</a>” crisis. Our unconditional cash transfer projects are immediate life-savers; last year Oxfam ran cash transfer projects worth nearly $4m, to more than 7,100 families in Yemen (the Othman project cost about $32k, by way of example). <br><br>But these are typically short-term and irregular projects, and with the constant funding pressure we’re forced to keep tightening our criteria of people we can help to only the most desperate.</p><p><strong>Stand with Yemen</strong><br><br>Over the last two years, <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-yemen" rel="nofollow">Oxfam has provided humanitarian assistance to more than 130,000 people</a> in the most dire humanitarian needs in Khamer and in three other neighboring districts. We enable vulnerable communities to access water through rehabilitation of rural and urban water networks.<br><br>We’ve invested in rain-water harvesting, repaired water networks, and provided fuel, sanitation services, solid waste management and hygiene promotion. We’ve given out winter clothes to families living in open displacement camps, helping their children to survive freezing weather. <br><br>With heavy hearts, we leave Othman and its children and their parents. <br><br>Oxfam is still running a cholera response project there, including distributing hygiene kits, but our cash assistance work in Othman is done – at least for now – decided for us, because there are "worse" priorities elsewhere.<br><br>I hope Othman’s people survive. I hope they can eventually thrive. I hope that donors can find more funding and expand the humanitarian work to the scale it needs to be, including back into the pockets of desperation like Othman. <br><br>I hope Yemen can achieve peace.<br><br><em>This entry posted by Mohamed Farah Adam, Oxfam Yemen’s Program Manager in Khamer, Amran governorate, on 17 August 2017.</em></p><h3>What you can do now</h3><p><a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-yemen"><strong>Please donate to Oxfam's Yemen Appeal</strong></a></p><p><strong><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/search/node/yemen">Read more blogs on Yemen</a></strong><em><br></em></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Helping a Yemeni village fight hunger</h2></div> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 13:11:43 +0000 Guest Blogger 81174 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-08-17-helping-yemeni-village-fight-hunger#comments Yemen: Resilience in the face of starvation http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-05-29-yemen-resilience-face-starvation <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>A shocking humanitarian situation in Yemen is unfolding in front of our eyes.</strong></p><p>Two years ago, no one predicted that the conflict and war would continue, leaving millions in acute and severe malnutrition, lacking access to safe and clean water and without shelter.</p><p>Yet today Yemen is <a href="http://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/un-security-council-must-act-end-man-made-humanitarian-crisis-yemen" rel="nofollow">one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises</a> and our own ground experience indicates that slowly but certainly, if the situation continues, extreme starvation will not be a mirage anymore, but a life and death reality.</p><p>A <a href="http://www.oxfam.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2017/03/oxfam-warns-possible-attack-on-yemen-hodeidah-port-will-push-country-into-near-certain-famine" rel="nofollow">possible attack against Al-Hudaydah port</a>, the entry point for an estimated 70 per cent of Yemen's food imports, and in the absence of any clear viable alternative, would also severely impact the humanitarian situation and put millions further at risk.</p><h3>Millions of people are suffering</h3><p>The victims of this crisis are the millions of people who were forced to flee their homes and are now displaced in their own country. They are the ones who suffer the most and who will continue to suffer if the war is prolonged. Facing starvation, malnutrition, fear, insecurity, lack of opportunities, income, and <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2017-05-16/yemen-swift-injection-funds-needed-after-capital-hit-surge-new" rel="nofollow">disease outbreaks such as cholera</a>, their daily lives have become miserable. Droughts, floods and extreme weather add further misery.</p><p>Every time we visited displaced families, we felt completely lost, speechless and blank. How did they and many others managed to come this far with the extraordinary difficulties they have been facing for the last 24 months. How did they move forward while living under gusts of wind that shatter their shelters which are made of plastic bottles, leaves, and bush trees? The heavy rains ultimately swamp everything, forcing them to pick up the pieces and reconstruct new shelters from scratch.</p><p>Fateema,* a 12-year-old girl takes care of three siblings younger than her. Their father died during the conflict and their mother no longer lives with them. There are many families like Fateema’s, where children head the household.</p><p><img alt="Water trucking distribution in Al-Manjorah camp, Hajjah, Yemen. Credit: Moayed Al-Shaibani/Oxfam, February 2017" title="Water trucking distribution in Al-Manjorah camp, Hajjah, Yemen. Credit: Moayed Al-Shaibani/Oxfam, February 2017" height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/water-camp-yemen1240x680.jpg" /></p><h3>Rampant hunger</h3><p>Food insecurity is very high among these people. The challenge to survive and thrive is an enormous burden on these young children. Securing meals everyday is their top priority where there is hardly any unskilled or appropriate job available.</p><p>Crisis can make someone very strong but to be resilient in these circumstances reveals some extraordinary courage. Fateema, like many others, has that courage to stay in the open field in a makeshift tent along with her siblings. She also stitches clothes and sells them to nearby families to get money for food.</p><p>The recent release of <a href="http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/IPC_Yemen_AcuteFI_Situation_March-July2017_ENversion.pdf" rel="nofollow">IPC report</a>, though famine was not declared, clearly shows that the situation is worsening by the day. Of all life-threatening issues displaced people are facing, the most alarming one is that people eat less and less food, in many cases only one meal a day.</p><p>In Hajjah and Al-Hudaydah, girls and women are in a more precarious situation than other household members. Sometimes, women and girls’ only meal also has to be sacrificed due to a cultural practice where men and boys will eat first, leaving only leftovers for the women and girls. This is an example of how malnutrition is increasing at a household level.</p><p><img alt="Farah*, 8, collects water from the Oxfam water distribution point at the Al-Manjorah IDPs camp, Bani Hassan District, Hajjah, Yemen. Credit: Moayed Al-Shaybani/Oxfam *Name changed." title="Farah*, 8, collects water from the Oxfam water distribution point at the Al-Manjorah IDPs camp, Bani Hassan District, Hajjah, Yemen. Credit: Moayed Al-Shaybani/Oxfam *Name changed." height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/105268lpr-girl-water-1240-moayed.jpg" /></p><h3>Collapsing economy</h3><p>The situation in the host communities is equally bad where the head of the household earns less because of the crisis, while sometimes around 15 to 20 people have to share the food that is available.</p><p>On the ground, local markets still function and basic foods items such as wheat flour, cooking oil, vegetables, and rice are available. However, people’s decreasing daily income limits their affordability. On their other hand, except for bread, the prices of others food items kept increasing for the past two years – they are on average 22 percent higher than before the war.</p><h3>Humanitarian access</h3><p>The de-facto blockade and access impediments inside the country have also impacted the imports and deliveries of food but small and local traders in Hajjah and Al-Hudaydah have been able to kept selling staple foods in an unhindered manner. In these circumstances, in order to afford daily meals, displaced families resort to selling their only valuable asset which is livestock.</p><h3>The wish for peace</h3><p>The <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/16-12-05-finding-hope-yemen-i-witness-never-ending-war">resilience of Yemeni people</a> cannot be expressed in words. The hardship is unbearable for children like Fateema who will become invisible in the days and years to come due to the loss of her childhood.</p><p><strong>We wish for peace in Yemen</strong> to be restored so that the future generation can grow with the dream to become what they want and not what war and conflict wants them to be.</p><p><em>This entry posted by Arvind Kumar, Oxfam Yemen’s Humanitarian Program Coordinator, on 26 May 2017.</em></p><p><em>*Name changed.</em></p><p><em>Photos:</em></p><ul><li><em>Fatima, in Al-Manjorah IDP camp, in Hajjah governorate. Credit: Moayed Al-Shaibani/Oxfam, February 2017</em></li><li><em></em><em>Water trucking distribution in Al-Manjorah camp, Hajjah. Credit: Moayed Al-Shaibani/Oxfam, February 2017</em></li><li><em>Farah*, 8, collects water from the Oxfam water distribution point at the Al-Manjorah IDPs camp, Bani Hassan District, Hajjah, Yemen. Credit: Moayed Al-Shaybani/Oxfam *Name changed.</em></li></ul><p></p><h3>What you can do</h3><p></p><p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-yemen" rel="nofollow"><strong>Donate to Oxfam's humanitarian work in Yemen</strong></a></p><p><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/search/node/yemen"><strong>Read more blogs on Yemen</strong></a></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Yemen: Resilience in the face of starvation</h2></div> Mon, 29 May 2017 12:30:15 +0000 Guest Blogger 81075 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-05-29-yemen-resilience-face-starvation#comments This starvation in Africa is an affront to humanity http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-04-13-starvation-africa-affront-humanity <div class="field field-name-body"><p>We’re all shaken by the fact that our world stands on the brink of 4 famines. It is unprecedented in modern times. It should never have been allowed to happen. The UN says nearly 20 million people are at risk of starvation.<br><br>Nigel Timmins and I recently joined Oxfam staff and partners in northeast Nigeria, and South Sudan.</p><p>In Northeast Nigeria we visited people and the work we do in and around Maiduguri, and travelled to Gwoza and Pulka (towns that have been badly affected by the conflict, with much of Gwoza totally destroyed by Boko Haram; Pulka is still receiving people being displaced by the conflict for the first time). We spoke with parents who were receiving support, but did not have proper shelter or enough food for their children.</p><p><img height="853" width="1280" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oxfam_nigeria_2017_tom_saater_-1981_0.jpg" alt="" /></p><p>We saw how communities have been forced to flee their homes, leaving everything behind as they seek safety, food, clean water and more amid the ongoing conflict between Boko Haram and the government.</p><p><img height="853" width="1280" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oxfam_nigeria_2017_tom_saater_-3786.jpg" alt="" /></p><p><em>Oxfam rehabilitated two boreholes in Kushari, giving both local and displaced families access to safe and clean water.</em></p><p>In South Sudan we went to Malakal which used to be South Sudan’s second largest city, as well as the capital Juba.</p><p>In Malakal we saw widespread destruction. Homes, schools - almost every building was in ruin. We met&nbsp; women who risk being attacked when they leave the protected area to find food or firewood for their families.</p><p><img alt="Upper Nile University used to be one of the highest regarded universities in South Sudan. It is now reduced to rubble like much of the town. Photo: Bruno Bierrenbach Feder" title="Upper Nile University used to be one of the highest regarded universities in South Sudan. It is now reduced to rubble like much of the town. Photo: Bruno Bierrenbach Feder" height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/malakal-univ-1240.jpg" /></p><p>As an African: it pains me to see this happening on our continent. I feel great sadness, but also anger and humiliation.</p><p>Thousands of people are thought to have died already. Many of them are young children.</p><p><strong>The cruelty of human-made crisis</strong></p><p>As Nigel said: “These are human-made crises. They’re not inevitable. There is no reason, and no excuse in today’s world, for a mother to sleep outdoors on the ground with her children, with little food or water and fearing for their lives. This should not happen."</p><p>Governments must act. We need an injection of aid, backed by diplomatic courage to tackle the causes of these crises. State, national and international political leadership is needed now to address the immediate crisis and bring an end to the conflict.</p><p>Oxfam is doing what we can - delivering on the front-lines to those in need and pushing decision makers to act. I met with Oxfam staff who are working to help raise women’s voices and who are scaling up our response to support families to earn their own incomes and to return to farming.</p><p>This is a journey Nigel and I wish we had never had to make – but we are so glad we were able to see this crisis first-hand and meet these brave people. We will do our utmost to continue sharing what we have seen, and push decision-makers to avert catastrophic loss of life.</p><p><img alt="Winnie embraces a woman from a women’s group in the Protection of Civilians center in Malakal, South Sudan. Photo: Bruno Bierrenbach Feder" title="Winnie embraces a woman from a women’s group in the Protection of Civilians center in Malakal, South Sudan. Photo: Bruno Bierrenbach Feder" height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/winnie-hug-1200.jpg" /></p><p><strong>Cause for hope</strong></p><p>And we must tell you: in the midst of such suffering, we had cause for hope.</p><p>We saw communities sharing what little they have with others in greater need. Wespoke with strong women and young people who are stepping up as leaders in their communities. We were greeted with warmth and gratitude by people who have been through so much, and have so little.</p><p>Political leaders and the international community can still – and must – avert catastrophic loss of life. We need an immediate and sweeping response.</p><p>We must end this betrayal of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.</p><p><strong>How you can help: </strong><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/famine-and-hunger-crisis" rel="nofollow"><strong>Donate to Oxfam now</strong></a></p><hr><p><img alt="Winnie Byanyima meeting with leaders in Nigeria. Photo: Tom Saater/Oxfam" title="Winnie Byanyima meeting with leaders in Nigeria. Photo: Tom Saater/Oxfam" height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oxfam-nigeria-2017-tom-saater-1642-winnie-pleading-1240.jpg" /></p><p>In northeast Nigeria, Winnie, Nigel and the team visited Oxfam’s programs in and around Maidaguri. Oxfam is responding to the crisis there by providing access to food through distributions and cash for people to use in local markets, clean water and sanitation and helping people to keep themselves safe. During the visit, they met with senior State Government leadership, including the Deputy Governor, the Secretary to the State Government and the State Attorney General. They discussed key issues including the stark number of people at risk of starvation in the state, improving coordination between the humanitarian community and the state government, government funding and leadership in the response and secondary displacement.<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/famine-and-hunger-crisis" rel="nofollow"></a></p><p><em>Photos 1, 2, 3, 6: Credit Tom Saater/Oxfam</em></p><p><em>Photos 4, 5: Credit Bruno Bierrenbach Feder/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>This starvation in Africa is an affront to humanity</h2></div> Thu, 13 Apr 2017 15:18:23 +0000 Winnie Byanyima 81018 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-04-13-starvation-africa-affront-humanity#comments There was a time in Yemen... http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-03-22-there-was-time-yemen <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>This entry posted by Sylvia Ghaly, Head of Policy and Campaigns, Oxfam Yemen, based in Sana’a, on 22 March 2017.</em></p><p><strong><em></em>There was a time when</strong> hearing airplanes flying used to put a smile on my face. It was a reminder of the good memories from a holiday that had just ended or of the plans I was making for my next trip. <br><br>Now, when I hear airplanes hovering in the sky, I get scared of what might come next. I pay attention in case there is an airstrike to follow and I start counting the number of airstrikes, even those far away: One… Two… and with the third strike we are herded to the basement, usually in the middle of the night. Sometimes there are only two strikes, but that is even worse as I cannot go back to sleep, waiting for the third to come.</p><p>Some of the airstrikes are so strong that they shake the house, we can feel it even when we are in the basement. The truth is no matter how much we would like to think that we are safe, we never know if and when we will end up to be counted as ‘collateral damage’ or just ‘a mistake’ of those well trained jetfighters! <br><br><strong>There was a time when</strong> seeing armed people was a rarity, a novelty. I remember when I was in the US post 9/11 and the country was dotted by armed forces. Going to the State Library, I snapped a shot of a tourist posing with smiling members of the armed forces protecting the public spaces. Here in Yemen, the second most armed country in the world, seeing armed people is becoming normal for me.</p><p>Even though I haven’t been out much because of the security restrictions, just from the airport to the guesthouse, you can see the number of people in arms. They don’t look violent: they carry their arms the way guys in other countries wear a man-purse these days. That is, of course, not taking into account the famous Yemeni dagger, the ‘jambia’, which I personally count as decorative accessory rather than a weapon!<strong> </strong></p><p><img alt="Shahd and Fatima*, both three years old at the time, fled from Sada&#039;a to Khamir in Amran to look for safety. Credit: Hind Aleryani/Oxfam, August 2015" title="Shahd and Fatima*, both three years old at the time, fled from Sada&#039;a to Khamir in Amran to look for safety. Credit: Hind Aleryani/Oxfam, August 2015" height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/94002lpr-girls-smiling-1240x680.jpg" /><br><strong><br>There was a time when</strong> the idea of child soldiers was an academic concept, a topic of research that stemmed from my strong belief in children’s rights and the need to protect children from harm. But here in Yemen, it is a daily reality when you pass one of the many checkpoints along the road that are ‘manned’ by child soldiers.<br><br>There was a time when seeing children of this age would have been followed by a casual conversation about which school they attended and what grade they were enrolled in. The encounter would have culminated with me emptying my pockets of pens, sweets or chocolates to share with them.</p><p>Today, when I see these children with their firearms weighing on their shoulders I say nothing, I pretend not to understand the language, and I hide behind my sunglasses waiting for the moment to pass. While waiting, I continue to wonder what future can these children hope for and what future does the country have when its children are deprived of education and a childhood.</p><p><strong><img alt="Hassan, 11, and his family are displaced from Harad city, now living in Almnkorh camp for displaced people in Abs District. Credit: Moayed Al-Shaybani/Oxfam" title="Hassan, 11, and his family are displaced from Harad city, now living in Almnkorh camp for displaced people in Abs District. Credit: Moayed Al-Shaybani/Oxfam" height="751" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/hassan-donkey-1240.jpg" /></strong></p><p><strong>There was a time when</strong> the concept of war was a theoretical one, it was shaped by what I saw on TV, in a movie or in the news and we all know that the news are always bias and things were never as bad as portrayed by the media. But they are, maybe even worse in the parts that the media cannot reach. War is a dirty ugly business and to my greatest surprise, here in Yemen there is no denying that the countries that pioneered the concepts of freedom, democracy and human rights are the same countries profiting from the war in Yemen and in the region. <br><br>There was a time when I thought that our ethical and moral compasses were strong enough to protect the vulnerable and to defend their rights, but now I know that these ideals are just that, ideals that can be part of presidential election speeches or academic lectures, but in reality, war will continue to exist for as long as human life is not the most valuable commodity and the value of one’s life is not the same around the world. <br><br>I hope for a time when I will be able to explore Yemen the way I did in many other countries around the world, when I will be able to visit Sana’a’s Old City and Socotra in the south without fear of kidnapping, violence or war. <br><br>Sooner or later that time will come, but unfortunately the more peace is delayed the more innocent people pay the price. <br><br><strong>There will be a time… for peace in Yemen.</strong><br><br><em>This entry posted by Sylvia Ghaly, Head of Policy and Campaigns, Oxfam Yemen, based in Sana’a, on 22 March 2017.</em><br><br><em>Photos:</em></p><ul><li><em>Boys of Khamer, Yemen. Credit: Sylvia Ghaly/Oxfam, August 2016</em></li><li><em></em><em>Shahd and Fatima*, both three years old at the time, fled from Sada'a to Khamir in Amran to look for safety. Credit: Hind Aleryani/Oxfam, August 2015</em></li><li><em>Hassan*, 11, and his family are displaced from Harad city, now living in Almnkorh camp for displaced people in Abs District. He travels daily on his donkey to collect water and firewood. Credit: Moayed Al-Shaybani/Oxfam, June 2016</em></li></ul><p><em>*Name changed to protect identity</em></p><p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/crisis-yemen" rel="nofollow"><strong>Please donate to Oxfam's humanitarian work in Yemen</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>There was a time in Yemen...</h2></div> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 17:13:33 +0000 Guest Blogger 80986 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-03-22-there-was-time-yemen#comments