Thousands of Somali people are fleeing their country for survival and in hope of a better life for their children and themselves. They arrive with very little except for the clothes they are wearing, some extra pieces of fabric and, if they are lucky, jerry cans. These ‘jerry cans’ are simply old, plastic oil containers.
During their journeys, which for some take up to two months by foot, there are very few, if any remaining water sources on their path suitable for drinking due to the drought in East Africa. Jerry cans are the only way to carry this basic necessity with them.
By the time they reach the refugee camps, these water containers are often filled with green algae and offer a breeding place for many types of diseases.
In response, International Medical Corps ran a week-long “Jerry Can Hygiene Campaign” in Kobe Refugee Camp from August 1-5, to help families clean their water containers. Kobe is one of four camps set up to serve the 118,000 and counting refugees streaming to the Dolo Ado area of Ethiopia where we have been working in partnership with the Ethiopian Government’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) to provide nutrition, sanitation, hygiene and gender-based violence services.
Through the use of sifted river sand - which can easily be found in the local area - and a simple chlorine solution, 1,700 jerry cans were cleaned during this campaign to ensure people do not continue to use containers that are unsafe for storing drinking water. Many families were able to take part in the campaign and learn from volunteers from their own community who were trained by International Medical Corps on how to keep their drinking water safe.
International Medical Corps is also planning to distribute hygiene kits including basic necessities like soap and has started constructing latrines and washrooms to ensure safe sanitation in the camps.
More than 20 years of fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo has led to millions of deaths, pervasive sexual violence, and a collapse of the health care system. In 2006, the World Health Organization ranked Congo 188th out of 190 countries for medical care and OxFam estimates that in some areas 75% of the population doesn’t have access to basic health care.
Ongoing fighting has exacerbated the problem, leading to widespread displacement in eastern Congo. For many women in Congo each day is a struggle to survive, with a critically high maternal mortality rate and widespread sexual and gender-based violence.
In the midst of the challenges, International Medical Corps is working to ensure that the women throughout these unstable regions receive care.
International Medical Corps supports health facilities in some of the most remote areas, serving communities that would otherwise lack medical care. The 41 medical facilities we support reach a total of 242,087 people.
Between April and June:
In addition, our teams distributed 1,274 long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets to prevent malaria to pregnant women during their prenatal care visits.
Your support has helped us provide lifesaving services to mothers in Congo, not only meeting their immediate medical needs but offering them and their children the chance for a health future.
For more than 30 days, Aneb Mohamed, a 32-year-old mother of seven, traveled from the Gedo area in Somalia, across the border into Ethiopia, all in hope of finding safety and a better future for herself and her children. Back in Somalia, Aneb had made a living for her family by running a small shop selling general goods. In the midst of the crisis, her house and shop were burned down, and with the failing rains and no food, she and her family began the long trek out of Somalia. By the time they reached the Dolo Ado refugee camps in Ethiopia, one of her children had died and her youngest son was very ill. When Aneb and her family were placed in the newly opened Kobe Refugee camp, she took him to International Medical Corps’ nutrition program, where our staff immediately began giving him nutritional supplements. “After only one week, he is looking healthy again,” said Aneb. “He is smiling and happy. This is all thanks to International Medical Corps! I don’t have to worry about his food anymore.”