Dutch Giro555 relief activities in full swing

In december 2017, six months after launching the Dutch Giro555-appeal ‘Help victims of famine’, relief activities are in full swing. Most of the funds are being used for aid in South Sudan, northeast Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, some funds are used for aid in neighbouring countries. On November 15, Giro555 published a report and video (both in Dutch) outlining the achievements of the first six months of the humanitarian response. In the report, Giro555 also highlights the challenges that relief organisations are facing.

National appeal
On March 6 2017, Giro555, an alliance of eleven Dutch relief organisations that campaign together when major disasters require a national appeal, launched the national campaign ‘Help victims of famine’. The campaign aimed to raise attention and funds for the victims of hunger-related crises in South Sudan, northeast Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, and in the neighbouring countries Kenya, Niger, Ethiopia and Uganda. In total, 35 million euros were raised. So far, over 22 million euros have been spent.

Six months after the launch of the campaign, over one million people received assistance thanks to the efforts of the relief organizations forming the Giro555 alliance. For example, 210,000 people received food aid in the form of food parcels or food vouchers, 283,000 children were screened for malnutrition and 76,000 malnourished children received supplementary nutrition (Plumpy nut, a nutritious peanut paste). In addition to distributing 14 million litres of water, the construction or repair of 121 water sources ensured that 168,000 people gained access to clean drinking water. 184,000 people received information about hygiene and illness prevention while most of them also received water purification tablets and hygiene items such as soap. 72,000 people were given drought-resistant seeds, fishing and agricultural tools to enable them to provide for their own livelihoods. In order to ensure the survival of livestock, very important for resilience and income, animals were given emergency nutrition and 390,000 cattle were vaccinated. Vulnerable families received cash transfers or generated income through cash-for-work that allowed them to buy food or medicine.

“I am extremely proud and grateful for the generosity of the Dutch public, “ says Farah Karimi, head of this Giro555 campaign. “Thanks to all the support, lot of work has been done to provide the many people in refugee camps and affected areas with food, water and sanitation, health care and livelihood support, including cash vouchers. Organizations are facing considerable challenges when providing aid. The affected area is huge and some regions are difficult to reach, because of bad roads, violence and conflicts or heavy rainfall. Emergency assistance in various areas is further complicated because economies collapsed, markets function poorly and prices have risen, government institutions function badly, large groups of people adrift multiple times and because of a shortage of qualified personnel. More and more we see that the affected states violate international humanitarian rights, for example by blocking access to victims.” Despite all those challenges, relief organizations are doing everything they can to provide emergency aid to the people in the affected areas.

Unfortunately, a new disaster is developing in parts of the areas suffering from hunger-related crises. Since sanitary facilities are extremely poor and clean drinking water is scarce, cholera broke out last summer in various locations. Together with relief organizations from other countries, we are working hard to prevent the spread of this disease. In Yemen, the most serious cholera epidemic ever reported unfolds. Aid organizations are distributing hygiene kits and providing hygiene information to stop the spread. They are also installing new water sources and purifing those existing.

Needs are still high
The hunger-related crises are not over yet. In many countries, food shortage is still extremely high, and some areas are even at risk of falling (back) into famine. All relief organizations within Giro555 therefore continue to offer assistance with funds from Giro555 and funds from other donors.

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