Our trustee of 15 years, Francois Danel, has recently returned from Djibouti, where he saw for himself the desperation of families who are struggling to survive the devastating food crisis that continues to sweep East Africa.
The gallery below is from Francois' time in Djibouti.
Action Against Hunger trustee, Francois Danel, has recently returned from Djibouti where he saw the life-threatening impact of the food crisis on young children first hand. He also witnessed the work of our teams on the ground who are desperately trying to reach as many children as possible. Here he is pictured with our Country Director for Djibouti, Claire Finas.
Five years of consecutive drought has devastated Djibouti and the land is arid as far as the eye can see. Nothing can grow here and nothing can survive. Drought has destroyed crops and livestock, forcing families to make the despairing decision of whether to stay in their homes without food or water or to make the long and difficult journey to seek help, which they know they may never find.
Thousands of pastoralist families have fled their homes as the last of their livestock, and only source of income, succumb to the drought. Now, in the shanty town of Balbala, tens of thousands of people are packed into makeshift shelters.
Families in Balbala have very little, if anything, to eat and drink and unhygienic conditions put children at a very high risk of infectious disease, which in turn, increases their risk of developing malnutrition.
Hunger is rife in Balbala and every day hundreds of sick children under the age of five arrive at Action Against Hunger’s centres in desperate need of treatment. The treatment centres are full every day, and our teams race against the clock to help every child that arrives.
Each child is weighed, measured and fully assessed before their course of treatment is decided. For many children, special highly nutritious ready-to-use therapeutic foods will be given, which can be taken home. However, those with medical complications and the most severe forms of malnutrition need to be hospitalised for round the clock care.
Many children are on the brink of death and sadly, some arrive too late, and too malnourished, to survive. Those who do arrive in time receive the specialist nutritional treatment from our experts that they need to bring them back to health.
For our teams on the ground, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a malnourished child putting on weight and becoming healthy again. However, our nutritionists know that for every child that is saved, many more are still suffering.
Thousands of children across Djibouti and the Horn of Africa are dangerously malnourished and in desperate need of treatment. Without it, many are at risk of dying. Our teams are continuing to scale up our programmes to reach more children before it is too late.