Nov 142011
 

Help Us Help the Vulnerable People of Horn of Africa

© Manoocher Deghati/IRIN

Following the worst drought in 60 years, the situation in the Horn of Africa is rapidly deteriorating: families across Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and some parts of Sudan are struggling to find anything to eat or drink and are in need of emergency healthcare. Over 13 million are suffering from desperate food shortages. Right now, the drought is spreading to Tanzania.

The international community has officially declared famine in parts of Somalia where over 30% of children are acutely malnourished and two deaths, per day, per 10,000 people occur due to these food shortages. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the country due to the drought and conflict,  thousands of livestock have already died, and food prices have rocketed. The situation is catastrophic.

HCI has been on the ground delivering vital aid and assistance for many years. Countless lives have been saved through our projects in the affected areas of Somalia. We must intervene now to avert a full-scale disaster and save the lives of thousands of  vulnerable victims.

HCI has started working in the area, and has been successfully delivering aid to Somali Famine victim in Mogadishu, Afgoye and Shabeelle. At the Feeding Center we are sponsoring, 900 individuals per day are receiving HCI’s help. A total of 27,000 people displaced by drought and famine are being helped every month. In Mogadishu we are distributing monthly food packages. Households receive parcels of culturally specific foods worth $150.

HCI’s immediate relief packages include: cooked food through food kitchens and dry food hampers. Food products include items that are familiar to beneficiaries and that they frequently use such as: tomatoes, pasta, tuna, flour, sugar, rice, and vegetable oil.

In the past year and a half alone, our aid to Somalia has been over one million dollars. Our projects include child sponsorship, orphanage, food assistance, water wells, water tankers, ambulance, other health services including massive medical aid packages and educational projects, as well as Recreation Centre for youth.

HCI has over 20 years of emergency relief experience in Africa: we have been implementing relief and development programs in the region together with our strong network of local partners for decades. Our presence and work in the region there has given us a solid base from which to start from, our teams on ground are delivering essential food and water supplies to the neediest of the needy. However, much more needs to be done, and there are very few funds available for us to expand our programs or to launch new ones. That is why we are making this special appeal for help.

Please donate generously and help HCI help the ordinary people of the Horn of Africa rebuild their lives. PLEASE CONTACT US NOW IF YOU WANT TO DONATE. You can also donate online at HCI Canada website by clicking here.

HCI follows a strict monitoring and evaluation system, which involves more than one long-term partner organization. Some of these partners provide supervision from within; others offer logistical support while others are responsible for designing and assisting in the implementation of HCI’s projects. Thus, transparency and accountability are ensured through a complex multi-level monitoring and supervision system. HCI only choose partners that have been thoroughly scrutinized, monitored, evaluated and verified in meeting our strict criteria. We value the support of our donors and every effort is made to make sure that every penny you donate goes to those who need it the most.

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Aug 242011
 

HCI’s latest intervention in Libya is timely as the conflict in Libya spreads and the number of casualties and people needing medical help has increased in recent days. HCI is proud to announce that a shipment of life saving medical supplies put together in Canada has reached the port of Benghazi and is waiting to be offloaded, distributed and sent to areas where it is most needed at a very crucial time for Libya.

As a result of the country’s recent turmoil, Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city has become a regional hub for health and medical supplies. Furthermore, many of the war-injured are brought to the city for treatment. In the coming days, HCI’s ground-team will work in coordination with local committees, local hospitals, tribal leaders, as well as with local and international aid agencies to make sure the medical supplies are distributed quickly and efficiently where they are most needed.

HCI’s international team has been working against the clock to put together and send this shipment of a wide range of much needed medical supplies and equipment such as ultrasound machines, auto-collative machines as well as other medical items in addition to technical specialists to help install and operate the equipment while continuously assessing the situation on the ground throughout Libya, consulting with UN bodies and visiting some of the people directly affected by the current situation.

HCI’s relief work in Libya is carried out in close consultation with other international aid agencies operating in the area as well in coordination with the Arab Medical Union, Libyan Appeal Team, local committees and National Transitional Council’s Humanitarian Committee.

HCI’s assistance has already reached large numbers of people inside the country, on the borders with Egypt and Tunisia as well as many of still the stranded citizens of Misrata. HCI’s team and local partners work tirelessly to help those in need whenever at all feasible.

However, many more Libyans are in dire need of our help. A large percentage of Libya’s 6 million strong population is undergoing a humanitarian crisis. It is estimated that there are 300,000 internally displaced people around the country and it is estimated that over 853,800 have fled the country.

You can donate online on HCI Canada’s website by clicking here. Please feel free to use the following link if you would like to contact us regarding information on HCI’s Libya operations.

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Apr 112011
 

Supporting Young Micro Business Owners Affected by the Turmoil in EgyptMahmoud; father of three and owner of cell phone repair and accessories shop, Ahmed; owner of electrical hardware shop, Doaa, owner of a small beauty center, Farouk; the sole breadwinner of a family of seven and owner of leather manufacturing workshop, Hamdeya; mother of seven and owner of sandwich shop, Abdel Hamid; tailor of men’s suites and many other Egyptian youth business owners are the beneficiaries of HCI’s new project in Egypt which supports youth micro-businesses affected by the political crisis.

Mahmoud, Ahmed, Doaa, Farouk, Hamdeya and Abdel Hamid have quite a few things in common: They are all small businesses owners, they are all the sole breadwinners for their families and since the revolution of January 25th their businesses have suffered, their income has plunged and their employees have been made jobless. This is a result of several factors such as the enforced curfew, security incidents during the revolution, inflated prices, decreased demands on their services/products since consumers now focus their purchasing capacity on essential supplies only, depleted cash flow, or inability to replenish their stocks because suppliers are demanding cash at exorbitant prices upon delivery and are refusing to deliver supplies/materials needed on credit.

Supporting Young Micro Business Owners Affected by the Turmoil in EgyptHCI’s new initiative in Egypt aims to economically empower underprivileged youth in low income urban areas of Cairo governorate that have been adversely affected by the situation through self-employment thus putting them in charge of their own income-generating projects; the selected youth’s micro-businesses are provided with affordable microcredit and technical assistance. The program is being implemented along with HCI’s long-term local partner Gouzour NGO. The program’s approach is based on mentored ownership; where entrepreneurs will own their businesses over time through an earn out after 75% of their loans are paid off, and best performing beneficiaries are provided with an incentive package of 25% of their loan value as free raw materials to assist them with their businesses expansion.

Supporting Young Micro Business Owners Affected by the Turmoil in EgyptMahmoud’s cell phone business is receiving a 5,000 LE loan/grant from HCI to be used to purchase cell phone spare parts, pay-as-you-go cards as well as new cell phones, things in high demand by his customers. Mahmoud will be able to retain his clientele, keep his business going and pay off the loan in four months.

Ahmed’s electrical hardware shop is receiving a 10,000 LE loan/grant from HCI. He plans on spending 6,000 LE on fast-moving goods such as light bulbs, electrical cords and wires as well as spare parts. With the remaining 4,000 LE, he plans on buying goods with an average turnover rate such as torches, electrical fittings and chandeliers. This loan will help him deal with the demands of his suppliers and hopefully allow him to rehire the three employees he had to let go due to the crisis.

Supporting Young Micro Business Owners Affected by the Turmoil in EgyptFarouk’s leather manufacturing workshop is receiving a 10,000 LE loan/grant from HCI. The workshop will be able to get enough leather and accessories for a two-week production cycle. The workshop will be able to produce one hundred bags during the first week and will have enough supplies for the second week’s production, allowing enough time for Farouk to collect his money from his customers and get supplies for the work cycle to continue.

Hamdeya’s sandwich shop will pay off its debts and have enough supplies for the business to pick up; Abdel Hamid’s tailor shop will rehire its seven employees and acquire materials needed; Doaa’s beauty center will have materials and supplies essential to restart the business.

The resources and skills offered through this program will definitely enable them to further develop their business opportunities and enhance their livelihoods, which will ultimately lead to more stabilization and an improvement in livelihoods in targeted areas. This micro-lending scheme that is offered by the project is based on a revolving fund that could benefit more micro-enterprises after the project completion.

Supporting Young Micro Business Owners Affected by the Turmoil in EgyptAs a result of HCI’s intervention these young men and women have a better chance of coping with the economically debilitating situation on the ground; and having being offered the means to rebuild their livelihoods they will be able to get their lives and the lives of their dependents back on track.

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Mar 282011
 

(Due to the sensitive nature of this information we are unable to disclose specific information and full names in this story. Please contact us if you want more specific information.)

At the border trees became washing lines.

At the border trees became washing lines.

“Across the border the roads were dark and completely deserted, there wasn’t a single vehicle anywhere, the weather was very cold, we heard two or three explosions and saw flashes of light in the distance, it was a very frightening experience,” explained HCI’s team member, Mouslem, who accompanied HCI’s first shipment of relief supplies into Libya. Mouslem, was among the tree-member team of HCI, along with several other volunteers, who decided to risk their lives and cross into Libya on the night of Saturday March the 18th, a day after the UN resolution no-fly zone was imposed and only few hours before the first strikes of the coalition forces reached Libya. “Despite the fact that we were warned at the border that the situation was very unpredictable, the thought that thousands of children in Libya were not able to access food made crossing into Libya a risk worth taking,” Mouslem stated emotionally.

HCI’s first convoy of relief supplies included food items. The decision to send food items was made after consultation with several aid agencies already on the ground in Libya such as Arab Medical Union and Medecin Sans Frontiers (MSF) personnel who had concluded a fact finding mission in the east of Libya just two days before HCI’s aid supplies were prepared. They concluded that despite the fact that there is a shortage of medical staff and drugs inside hospitals in Libya, at the moment food is what is more urgently needed, especially in the eastern parts of the country, thus the decision was made that HCI would make food items a priority in the shipment they were planning to send and within a day a shipment of essential food items including rice, pasta, and flour was prepared in Cairo and sent to the border where, it arrived there around mid day Saturday, just one day after a no-fly zone resolution was passed by the UN Security Council.

Even a young child tried to help.

A young child tried to help.

“We were on the border the day Benghazi witnessed the first direct attack by regime forces. And on that very day the country was awaiting the first strike by the coalition forces against the regime forces who were trying to enter Benghazi,” Mouslem explained.

HCI’s personnel in Cairo and Beirut were continuously in touch over the phone with the convoy, updating them about the evolving news coming from behind the border. That day the border witnessed the largest number of refugees, particularly Libyans from Benghazi fleeing the country. The border was totally overwhelmed by the large number of refugees that day; the majority were Libyans, but there were also significant numbers of Sudanese and Somali nationals trying to flee the country, finding themselves stranded at the border with no money, shelter or food, particularly the Somalis who fled their civil war-torn country to come to Libya and now cannot go back.

“I have been to this border many times before, but it had never looked like that before; car parks were filled with makeshift beds, trees became washing lines and every corner of the place had become a shelter. It was as if the border had become one big open air house” said Abu Khaled, the truck driver.

We wrapped ourselves up in blankets and headed onwards inside Libya.

We wrapped ourselves up in blankets and headed onwards inside Libya.

“Although we were planning to directly cross the border into Libya, we had to help the aid workers who were overwhelmed with refugees that day. We joined the Egyptian Red Crescent personnel and other aid agencies present at the border and started to distribute meals and food to the refugees in need. Many of them were dehydrated,” recounted Ahmed, another of HCI’s team members.

Around 6000 meals and water portions were distributed on that day at the border by aid agencies, including HCI.

In the mean time, the team was in touch with the team in Cairo and the regional office in Lebanon for feedback, and after much consideration the team in the field decided to proceed and enter Libya overnight risking their lives.

“We couldn’t wait further. The stories we heard at the border from fleeing families were shocking. We had to transport the relief items into Libya. The quantity may be very little and may not reach everyone in need, but they may help reducing the suffering of some of the women, children and elders in need, stranded and/or displaced inside Libya. So we took the decision, wrapped ourselves up in blankets and headed onwards,” added Ahmed.

Hand in hand we unloaded the trucks.

Hand in hand we unloaded the trucks.

HCI’s convoy crossed after dusk. The convoy’s first stop in Libya was at the Mesa’aad hospital, where two tribal leaders and several local aid workers were waiting them.

“Hand in hand we unloaded the trucks until the early hours of the morning. Even a young child tried to help us, despite the fact that we insisted he shouldn’t. Explosions and flashes of light, which were probably the strikes of the coalition forces on the advancing regime forces were heard and seen in the distance” Mouslem recounted. The relief supplies were then loaded on Libyan-plated trucks, each to a different destination, but all headed west of the Mesa’aad towards stranded towns in the Eastern part of the country.

This was the first shipment of relief aid into the country. HCI’s relief aid has been trying to reach the increasing number of internally displaced people in several areas around the country, such us the 20,000 people who have been taking refuge in the small town of Albethnan, east of Ajdabiya, for over two weeks. Some 5,000 people are displaced in the coastal town of Derna also. The growing phenomenon of IDPs is adding to the already dire situation inside Libya. Thousands of internally displaced people are expected to be in need of varying levels of humanitarian assistance.

More than 367,000 persons have crossed into neighboring countries as of March 26. Thousands are still stuck on the borders without adequate resources, shelter or food. The majority of the displaced are living under extremely harsh conditions, forced to flee unexpectedly and taking refuge in unprepared centers.

Much more needs to be done, and there are very few funds available for us to expand our operation. Please donate generously and help HCI help the ordinary people of Libya cope with the tragic events. Please contact us not if you want to donate. You can also donate online at HCI Canada website by clicking here.

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Mar 212011
 

Over this weekend, thousands of vulnerable families in Libya received family-sized food packages containing essential items including rice, sugar, pasta, canned food and wheat flour. HCI’s relief supplies crossed the Salloum border with Egypt overnight and in the early morning hours the much needed food items were taken to designated distribution points in cooperation with local hospitals, the Egyptian Red Crescent and the Arab Medical Union personnel on the ground. Families in the eastern part of the country received HCI’s relief supplies pending access to other parts of the country.

As a result of the current turmoil in Libya, thousands have been reported injured and dead. There is a significant increase in the number of internally displaced personnel in several areas around the country. More than 303,000 persons have crossed into neighboring countries as of March 18. Thousands are still stuck on the borders without adequate resources, shelter or food. The majority of the displaced are living under extremely harsh conditions, forced to flee unexpectedly and taking refuge in unprepared centers.

Most health facilities inside Libya, particularly in the eastern part of the country, are overwhelmed by the increasing numbers of the wounded as a result of the recent intense fighting. Medical supplies are also running short. Food supplies, particularly food for infants and other vital resources are running short as well. HCI’s team has been compounding its efforts to deliver help where it is needed the most despite the many challenges and obstacles we face.

Since the start of the crisis in Libya HCI has been working alongside its Tunisian partners to help the 160,000 refugees stranded on the Western borders of Libya with Tunis, providing them with much needed shelter and aid. Also, HCI has been working alongside its Egyptian partners to help the 130,000 refugees stranded on the Eastern border of Libya with Egypt, providing them with much needed hot meals and water.

HCI’s operation inside Libya is supported through its operation and partners in Egypt and it is managed through HCI’s Middle East Office.

Given the uncertainty around the conditions and needs inside Libya, and the volatility of the situation, HCI’s operation is periodically updated to reflect the conditions and needs on the ground.

Much more needs to be done, and there are very few funds available for us to expand our operation. Please donate generously and help HCI help the ordinary people of Libya cope with the tragic events. Please contact us not if you want to donate. You can also donate online at HCI Canada website by clicking here.

Read about HCI’s journey into Libya: Accounts from the field

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