“My work is defined by international conflicts”

As head of Malteser International’s Emergency Team, Oliver Hochedez constantly travels to the world’s trouble spots.

I can never say where I will spend the next few weeks. That’s simply part of my job as head of Malteser International’s Emergency Team. Whenever people experience hardship somewhere in the world, soon afterwards I will probably fly there and coordinate our relief measures. Following the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004, I lived in Indonesia for almost three years; afterwards I went to Ethiopia for two years because of the famine. Since 2014 my work has been defined by international conflicts. In recent months I have been to Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Nepal and Ukraine. A core team of four permanent and roughly 20 free-lance experts work in the Emergency Relief Department at Malteser International. With a total of 
20 national offices, Malteser International is represented all over the world. It is the duty of emergency relief to supply people in need as quickly as possible: in the first instance, this involves medical treatment, but it then also means supplying water, food and sanitary products. Since 2014 we have helped over 200,000 patients in our field hospitals, mobile clinics and health stations in Iraq, Lebanon, northern Syria and Turkey. I actually graduated in communications studies and wanted to be a journalist. However, I didn’t want to only write about disasters, but actively improve the situation. That’s why I became an emergency relief worker. Our work is important and worthwhile. Nevertheless, you must never forget that it doesn’t resolve conflicts. Only politics can do that.” ▪