Save the Children Federation

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children. Our vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Our mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.
Jan 4, 2012

Spotlight on Merlin's Emergency Work in Ethiopia

November 2011 Activities

November brought very heavy rains to the regions that Merlin work in, and some health facilities and remote villages were difficult or impossible to access.  In some areas the rain meant there were less water shortages and pasture began to regenerate.

Bale region

  • Nutrition activities were carried out in all 8 woredas  (districts) of Bale, covering 116 kebeles (villages).
  • Merlin staff helped with a second round of polio immunisation.
  • 4082 children between 0 and 5 years were checked to see if they were suffering from malnutrition.  Unfortunately, 142 children were found to be severely malnourished.
  • Thankfully, 196 children who had previously been diagnosed as severely malnourished were given the ‘all clear’.
  • Over 5100 men and women were given health education, when they came to Merlin’s mobile health clinics to collect food and medicines.  They were offered information on how to prevent and protect against acute watery diarrhoea (AWD).  AWD can easily lead to cholera, a disease which spreads rapidly and can be fatal within a few hours of being caught, especially if the child or adult’s immune system is weakened from lack of nutrition.
  • Public bathroom facilities were built: 8 pit latrines, each with 4 seats and 1 trench latrine with 14 seats. 10 local cleaners were enrolled to make sure the bathrooms will be kept clean. Soap, hand bowls and washing facilities were also provided.

Borena Region

  • Nutrition activities were carried out in 5 woredas, covering 73 health facilities.
  • 715 children were checked for malnutrition, of which 69 were suffering from severe malnutrition and put into the therapeutic feeding program.  On average children stay in this program for 25 – 30 days.
  • 65 children were allowed to leave the therapeutic feeding centre, having gained a sufficient amount of weight.
  • More than 6140 people attended health education sessions.  Topics covered included; the importance of breast feeding, the need to give babies additional food from 6 months with continued breast feeding up to 2 yrs and beyond, the importance of continued feeding when a child is sick and what is nutritional food.

Gode Region

  • 6 health teams covered 5 woredas and Merlin staff also supported six static clinics.
  • Nearly 6200 people were seen by Merlin’s health teams.
  • 1189 children were screened for malnutrition, of which 132 were admitted into the therapeutic feeding program.
  • Another 39 children were allowed back to their families, fully recovered after being part of the program in previous weeks.
  • Merlin staff supported the continuing polio campaign.  65 children were vaccinated.
  • Over 7000 people attended health education sessions.
  • The feeding program continues to expand to other areas of Gode region, including support to an additional 7 static health clinics.

A more general update will follow in a few weeks.  Thank you again for your support of our work.

Links:

Dec 22, 2011

Boy's rescue five days after Turkish quake

Turkey
Turkey

ERCIS, Turkey, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Rescue workers pulled a 13-year-old boy alive out of the rubble of an apartment block on Friday, five days after a powerful earthquake that killed at least 570 people in eastern Turkey.

"It is a great miracle," Neriman, the boy's 34-year-old mother told Reuters. "He told me he prayed and when he said all his prayers and there were no more left he recited the national anthem."

The rescue lifted Turkish spirits as thousands of quake survivors endured a fifth freezing and wet night without a roof over their heads, and recriminations flew over the pace of relief and the shoddy construction that led to so much damage.

The boy, Ferhat Tokay, was put in a neck brace and taken on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance after being rescued in Ercis, the town hardest hit by Sunday's 7.2 magnitude quake, television images showed.

"We started digging and at first we saw his hand. And then we started speaking to him. He said 'I am hungry and thirsty'," an exhausted but elated medic, Baris Dogan, told Reuters.

"It was like taking my own son out."

Doctors at the hospital in Van, where he was taken, said the boy's condition was relatively good. A few steps away in the intensive care unit, relatives of other quake victims broke down in tears as doctors gave them bad news about their loved ones.

Tokay was rescued from the first floor of a collapsed seven-storey block of flats where he lived with his family on the main street in Ercis, opposite a mosque whose minarets had collapsed.

Around 50 people dug on through the rubble in the hope of finding more people alive. As many as 10 were still missing from the building but there were no immediate signs of life.

Tokay was rescued hours after an 18-year-old man was brought out late on Thursday to cheers among grief-stricken quake survivors.

"SHODDY BUILDINGS"

People left homeless by the quake in the predominantly Kurdish eastern province of Van have complained bitterly over the slow delivery of relief items like tents.

Drenched by pouring rain, more and more are falling sick, and with the first winter snows expected in November there is an urgent need to get people under cover fast.

A doctor in Van told Reuters his hospital had received 700 patients suffering cold-related problems on Thursday alone. Many people were also treated for anxiety.

Although search operations are beginning to wind down, 187 people have been found alive under collapsed buildings since the quake struck on Sunday afternoon, according to an official count.

The Disaster and Emergency Administration said on Friday the death toll had risen to 573, with 2,608 people hurt in Turkey's biggest quake in more than a decade.

No official figures were available for the homeless.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies put the number of "affected people" at 50,000.

In Ercis alone, a town of around 100,000 people, hardly anyone was going back to their homes even if they were still standing.

President Abdullah Gul announced that parades and receptions for Republic Day on Saturday were cancelled, and went on to bemoan poor construction and lack of inspections in Turkey that led to a "problem of shoddy buildings".

"While the Van earthquake has reminded us of the reality that ours is a country prone to earthquakes, it has also shown the destruction caused by neglect and irresponsibility," he said.

TENT CITIES

Two or three tent cities have sprouted on the outskirts of Ercis, but thousands of men, having settled children and women as best they can, wander at night looking for shelter.

With nowhere to go, they lean against walls to protect themselves from the rain.

Some survivors, who had stood in long queues only to be told there were no tents left, accused officials of handing aid to supporters of the ruling AK party. Others said profiteers were hoarding tents and reselling them.

Scuffles broke out in one long line to a distribution centre, before police stepped in to calm tempers.

Any accusations of neglect or ineptitude can be politically sensitive.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan visited the area hours after the quake and wants to build bridges with Turkey's minority Kurds and is expected to go again at the weekend.

More than 40,000 people have been killed in a Kurdish separatist insurgency in the region that has lasted three decades. Last week militants killed 24 troops in neighbouring Hakkari province.

FOREIGN AID

A government that had thought it could manage the relief effort alone is now gratefully accepting foreign help in the shape of tents, prefabricated housing and containers.

The first foreign planeloads of tents arrived on Thursday.

In total 35,000 tents have been sent to the region.

Unable to meet demand, relief authorities in the provincial capital Van decided to hand out tents to people only after verifying their homes were too unsafe to return to.

The disaster administration said that out of some 10,000 damaged buildings assessed so far, half were uninhabitable.

People fear their homes have become deathtraps, as 1,139 aftershocks have rattled the area since the quake.

Vainly trying to dry linen and blankets after the rain, one mother was ready to be persuaded to quit her tent and go home out of a mixture of desperation and resignation.

"Last night, it rained and all our belongings are still wet. I don't know how many more days we can stay in a tent like this," the woman, who gave her name as Nimet, told Reuters, pointing at the block where she lived near the centre of Van.

(Additional reporting by Seda Sezer and Kumeyra Pamuk in Van; Writing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Daren Butler; Editing by Richard Meares)

Links:

Dec 1, 2011

Update on East Africa Food Crisis

A Merlin mobile clinic, Turkana
A Merlin mobile clinic, Turkana

The Holiday Season is upon us and I am sure you are thinking of what to give others, as well as what you may soon receive.  You generously supported Merlin's emergency response program in East Africa and below is an update on our work, to keep you informed.

Unfortunately, we continue to ask for support - with over four million in need of assistance in Somalia alone, there is still, so much that needs to be done.  If you are able to offer us an additional or recurring gift, please consider doing so.  Your gift will make a difference; it will give hope and help to save lives.  

Update on the general situation in East Africa

  • The rainy season began in October.  However, floods were reported in southern parts of Somalia and south eastern Ethiopia, which has resulted in cases of water-borne diseases such as Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD), cholera, malaria, dengue fever, and pneumonia.  The World Health Organisation has also reported cases of measles.
  • Weather forecasts predict a below average rainfall in most parts of Somalia, (especially in northern areas), until December.
  • The security situation in the region has deteriorated significantly, particular in Kenya and Somalia. As a result of an increased number of kidnappings of international personnel, the Kenyan Government has responded by sending several hundred soldiers into Somalia’s border lands. This action has meant many Somalian familes have moved on again, after already being  displaced because of the drought.
  • According to UNHCR – the UN refugee Agency - the number of Somalis crossing into Kenya has decreased.  However, the number of Somali arrivals in the Ethiopian refugee camps has significantly increased, with nearly 5,000 people crossing in the first half of October, brining the average daily arrival rate to 414, more than twice that of September.

Update on Merlin's work in October

Somalia

  • Offering over 585 000 people health care.
  • Expanded health and nutrition activities in Borama district.
  • Staff given additional and refresher training in managing childhood illnesses in an integrated way.
  • Merlin was awarded World Food Program funding and is now operating supplementary feeding programs in Somaliland, alongside the primary health services. 
  • HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services are now part of health care services in Puntland clinics.

Kenya

  • Giving health care to 485,000 men, women and children in the Turkana region.
  • Merlin continues to support 29 health facilities offering care to children with acute malnutrition.
  • Outreach activities using mobile clinics took place in over 100 locations.
  • Nearly 240 health education sessions were conducted to over 37,500 people.
  • Drug kits were distributed to health facilities.

Ethiopia

  • More than 635,000 people have direct access to health and nutritional care.
  • Merlin is now working in Gode zone, after identifying five locations for outreach clinics.
  • Mobile health and nutrition teams have been scaled up.  There are now five sites in West Gode, five in Gode, ten in Adadle and five in Kelafo.
  • Staff launched an emergency response in Godere providing health and nutrition to approximately 2,000 extended families (around 80% of which were Somali refugees).
  • Total number of those benefitting from direct services in October – 67,399.

From everyone at Merlin, thank you for your support and interest in our work.

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