comprehend hunger through imagery

Posts tagged “Africa

Any Spare Coin is Invested in Goats, Sheep and Camels

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Photos and Text Samuel Hauenstein Swan  – www.sambronx-photo.com

Part X of the Descendent of the Hyena Series. Full Story

Food aid has traditionally been the dominant form of assistance to people suffering from hunger. In the past decade, however, support in the form of cash transfers has become increasingly popular as an alternative to food aid, especially in Africa. The advantages of cash are many. Cash gives people more choices to the recipient than food, enabling them to meet a range of food and non-food needs, including health expenses, clothing, and – even in emergency situations – the purchase of livestock and other critical assets needed to build livelihoods. Herds small to big not only provide food directly, but they also guarantee an income flow, can act as a store of value enhancing risk-bearing capacity, and often have an inherent value linked to the status they confer to their owners. Farmers like Zara ideally invest there harvest surplus profit to gain animals which the resell if they face financial hardship, such as an illness, prolonged food deficit etc.

The nomadic communities around where Zara lives had once abundant and diverse herds. The “dry” years of the late 1980s and the first decade of the 21st century severely reduced the numbers and composition of the animals. Trying to recover in the aftermath of severe droughts is a long and tough process: buying young and healthy animals is beyond the means of all but the wealthiest. Losing their strong camels signifies diminishes the ability to move from place to place in search of water and pasture. In turns that result in heightened conflict between the villages and the nomads as the prolonged presence of animals and humans around limited water-points leads to increasing overgrazing, deforestation, and disputes over the usage of extensive plains.
Almost all evidence available highlighting positive effects of cash transfers, on livestock and inputs. The impacts on savings, ownership of animals were consistent highlighting positive results of giving distressed communities cash on hand at times of seasonal hunger.

Cash also has ‘multiplier effects’ in the economy: spending cash transfers will generate income and employment for others that not got the cash directly. Capital can help farmers protect their belongings and their production systems. prevent distress sales of animals and livelihood stimulate local food economies.

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The Gaps in this Family Portrait 

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Part II of the Descendent of the Hyena Story.

Photo and Text: Samuel Hauenstein Swan – www.SamBronx-Photo.com

The few months after harvest in September, are comfortable for the community of Guidan Koura. Food is readily available. The water holes are replenished and full.  The time of plenty is short-lived

Zara’s husband is missing, from the picture, he is coming only for the short rainy season to help with the agricultural season and harvest. they all know there will not be sufficient work or food for all and he is leaving for the rest of the year to work in the faraway coastal countries the rest of the year.

Soon the supplies reduce, the mothers have to think of the months to come and start to ration. Orientate their thoughts to the long months ahead. Survival to Zara’s family will depend on her forward thinking and her ability to balance her household economy and care duties as a mother.

2005 was a terrible year the harvest was small, no one in the village had much grain. The social fabric of the community began to unravel; neighbours hid food from each other, knowing that dividing food into even smaller portions would mean starvation for all. Hunger drove them all mad. It was then when Zara’s big sister fell ill and died; she left two daughters to look after. With no food in the home and two more mouths to feed her second born boy fell behind. He too died during the 2005 hunger season.

Zara now calls three daughters and two boys, one born in 2007 her children.

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Clémence’s soft toy

 

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picture:  www.sambronx-photo.com

Clémence is holding onto her soft toy Dalmatian Puppy, her mother gave her for Christmas. Children all over the world hold on to their cuddly toys for comfort in unfamiliar places. Clémence is no different.

 

I meet her and her mother, Anita, in the intensive nutrition unit of the pediatric hospital in Bangui, the Central African Republic. 29,250 children under 5 years suffering from acute malnutrition are admitted for therapeutic care. The principal referral centre of the capital is crowded with children that have fallen ill with the most severe and deadly form of malnutrition. There is little noise from these children: too ill to play, too weak to express discomfort.

 

At two and a half years old and 5.5 kg, Clémence is barely above the weight of a new born baby. I learned how she came here as her mother, Anita, props her up in her lap. A few weeks back she was a strong and joyful little child playing in the streets near her home. All changed when she caught malaria and lost appetite fighting the fever. Weakened by illness, she developed diarrhea and quickly lost weight to the point that her parents got very worried and brought her into the hospital, where they learned their child was suffering from severe malnutrition.

 

Severe malnutrition is one of the greatest challenges to child survival in the world today. Affecting 16 million children worldwide and responsible for up to two million child deaths each year, it is the most lethal form of malnutrition.

 

Clémence is clinging onto her Dalmatian toy when the nurse tries to move it to take the temperature. Her breathing is very quick and she seems to drift in and out of sleep. She is unable to move her head up and look around. Having worked with ACF for many years, the intensive nutrition units are the hardest, saddest places to visit. No child should ever fall ill with Severe malnutrition.  It is the epitome of an unjust world: a place that produces more food that it can eat and has the knowledge to treat infections these children can no longer fight.

 

However, nutrition units are also places of hope. Last year 87% of children brought to our nutrition clinics in CAR recovered and returned home. ACF cured more than three million children around the world last year alone. Effective community treatment, equipped with products like therapeutic foods, reach children living in the most marginalised and conflict ridden areas of the world. Where the illness is extremely severe and complicated by infection as it was with Clémence, inpatient treatment with the supervision of ACF doctors and nurses around the clock is the only option. CAR has experienced high levels of violence that have devastated its health system and increased poverty, so only few referral centres are available.

 

Talking to Anita, a law student, she was hopeful that the treatment was working and there were  some signs that her child was getting better. Trying to feed her was not easy, as Clémence was spilling much of the therapeutic milk and having difficulties even swallowing. Feeding ill children is a painfully slow and delicate process as any parents know. Here it is an act of desperation to save a child.  My presence was not helping as Clémence was distracted. I left the hospital where Anita was hopeful that her daughter would gain weight and get back her appetite so they could return home. I felt hopeful that Clémence’s mother was right.

 

Arriving back in the UK I had some horrible, sad news from Central African Republic. Clémence died from severe malnutrition only days after I left her bedside. Her mum was doing her best. In a country that has high rates of illness, only few health care workers are at hand to help her to detect the early signs of malnutrition and get treatment. This Mother couldn’t prevent her baby from getting regular bouts of malaria or the diarrhea that followed and weakened her little girl, and led to the severe malnutrition. She is one case in about 700 malnutrition-related deaths per year in CAR.

 

We do save lives in our projects every day. Sadly we failed Clémence. Despite our best effort, too many children still do not make it through severe malnutrition. In 2015 Action Against Hunger treated 1,560,000 children: more than any previous year. We have to do even more. Anita, her story and pictures serve me as a reminder to raise awareness of the unspeakable injustices of malnutrition so many children in CAR and worldwide, battle with day in day out.

 

Action Against Hunger are part of a massive scale up and work with communities, donors and doctors to find children long before they are severely malnourished, to expand treatment into many more health centers in order for malnourished children to stand the best chance to be cured. Referral centers such as at the Bangui paediatric hospital partner with us to deal with overwhelming numbers of malnourished children.


Somaliland’s herders devastated by drought

Hargeisa, Somaliland – Vast regions of Somaliland, the autonomous territory that declared independence from Somalia in 1991, but has not been internationally recognised, are enduring one of their harshest droughts in two decades.

As the wet seasons have grown increasingly erratic and the rainfall more sporadic over recent years, thousands of herding families across the remote coastal Awdal and Galbeed territories have been pushed into crisis. link

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Stefano De Luigi’s Photographs of Drought in Kenya

In 2009 Stefano De Luigi shot a series of works based on the Kenyan drought, specifically within the Turkana region in northwest Kenya. Stefano, uses the drought as a lens through which to examine climate change more widely. follow link to interview and pictures in the vice magazine.

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Ebola, Malnutrition, Starvation And Nollywood by Patrick Dele Cole

Bollywood and Nollywood have yet to see any humanitarian work of note. During the 1990s when starvation nearly wiped out many of the children in Ethiopia, it was an English Man Bob Geldorf and an American, Bono, who got fellow artists together to sing “Do they know it is Christmas”.
There was not a squeak from India and Africa. Ebola is here now and these same two musicians – Geldorf at nearly 70 and Bono – are again in the forefront raising money for Ebola victims. – See more follow link

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BENTIU, SOUTH SUDAN by Lynsey Addario

BENTIU, SOUTH SUDAN – MAY 2014: An Internally displaced girl stares at a severely malnourished government soldier, Jay Thiep, who was found unconscious near the airport when he was brought to the clinic at the base of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in Bentiu, South Sudan, May 6, 2014. Thiep was thought to have been hiding without food for roughly three weeks in the bush following a retreat of government soldiers from Bentiu. Roughly twenty-five thousand IDPs live at the UNMISS base in Bentiu, and one million Southern Sudanese have been displaced from their homes since the start of the civil war in December 2013, pitting ethnic Nu’er against Dinka. Because of continued fighting, many have been unable to plant crops to harvest the next season, and aid organizations have been unable to preposition food in anticipation of the rainy season. According to the United Nations official coordinating humanitarian aid in South Sudan, if the civil war doesn’t stop, and the country does not receive international aid, South Sudan will face the worst starvation in Africa since the 1980s, when hundreds of thousands of people died in Ethiopia’s famine. see more Photograph by Lynsey Addario/Reportage by Getty Image

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