Actress and International Medical Corps Global Ambassador Sienna Miller returned this week from visiting International Medical Corps’ nutrition programs in the Dolo Ado camps in eastern Ethiopia, an area largely inaccessible by media. More than 120,000 Somalis - 30 percent of whom are malnourished - are seeking refuge here from the crippling effects of drought, famine, and conflict. With six regions of Somalia now facing famine, Miller is calling for greater attention to the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today where more than 12.4 million people throughout East Africa require relief.
“Without immediate humanitarian intervention, more than 390,000 children are at risk of starvation,” said Miller. “International Medical Corps is on the ground providing emergency nutrition services and health care to vulnerable populations in Ethiopia as well as in Kenya and Somalia, but they will need ongoing support to meet the massive needs, which are only expected to expand in the coming months. Ongoing support will literally make the difference between life and death for thousands of children in Ethiopia, and throughout the region.”
Having worked since 1991 in Somalia, International Medical Corps is reaching affected populations with nutrition and water, sanitation, and hygiene programs to provide a multi-faceted approach to the crisis. In Sool and Sanaag regions, the organization, with support from UNICEF, screened 11,500 children and admitted 679 children in outpatient therapeutic program sites for advanced nutrition care. Teams also distributed micro-nutrient supplements for 4,850 pregnant and lactating mothers. In addition, trainings were conducted for Ministry of Health staff on community mobilization, nutrition screening, vaccination, and referrals.
At the Dolo Ado camps in Ethiopia, International Medical Corps, in partnership with the Ethiopian Government’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), is providing supplementary feeding services for malnourished people, including the provision of nutrient-dense therapeutic foods. To date, approximately 5,000 children and pregnant and lactating women have undergone nutritional screening and referred to the appropriate level of therapeutic care. Teams also constructed 136 latrines and washrooms with 200 more planned and launched a hygiene campaign to thwart the spread of communicable disease in the overcrowded camps.
At Kambioos refugee camp in Kenya, a part of the Dadaab Complex which is today the largest refugee camp in the world, International Medical Corps is working in partnership with AmeriCares to implement a field hospital with nutrition services and a maternity center. In addition, in Samburu, Isiolo, Tana River and Laikipia districts in Kenya, International Medical Corps has been working in partnership with UNICEF to deliver high-impact nutrition interventions in existing health facilities and at the community level. The organization is scaling up existing programs to support 154 health facilities and planning expansion of feeding points within these drought affected areas.
For more detailed information about International Medical Corps’ drought and famine response throughout East Africa, please visit: http://internationalmedicalcorps.org/page.aspx?pid=1348
The German humanitarian aid agency, Luftfahrt ohne Grenzen, or Wings of Help, is coordinating the largest airlift of humanitarian relief supplies from Germany to the Horn of Africa, where 12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance.
The supplies, which include approximately 90 tons of vital medicines, tents, and nutrient-dense foods, will be transported to Kenya on a cargo flight donated by Lufthansa Airlines, and will be distributed in partnership with International Medical Corps and its teams on the ground in Kenya and Somalia. “International Medical Corps is deeply grateful to Luftfahrt ohne Grenzen, Lufthansa, International Relief Teams, Dr. Gerhard Gensthaler, Dr. Marcus Schmitt, Mr. Christian Poppe, and all those who came together to make this lifesaving shipment of supplies possible,” says Nancy A. Aossey, President & CEO of International Medical Corps. “This timely donation will allow us to restore the health and well-being of thousands of children, and relieve the suffering of families impacted by this devastating drought and famine.”The supplies will first be distributed in the drought affected areas in the Eastern province of Kenya (in Isiolo); in the Rift Valley (Samburu and Laikipia); and Coast Province (Tana river and Tana Delta). The airlift to the Horn of Africa is the latest in a long partnership between Luftfahrt ohne Grenzen and International Medical Corps in responding to humanitarian crises across the globe, including the 2010 Haiti earthquake, 2010 Pakistan floods, and 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami.
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.
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.”
With more than two decades working in the field with International Medical Corps, Stephen Tomlin, Vice President for Program Policy and Planning, offers rare insight into the humanitarian crisis in East Africa. In addition to establishing International Medical Corps’ program in Somalia in 1991, Stephen helped launch our programs in Rwanda, Bosnia and Honduras.
I’m on my way to East Africa, where the world’s worst humanitarian disaster is affecting some 12 million people. I have a strong personal connection to this region -- twenty years ago, I ran International Medical Corps' response to another famine in Somalia. Even now, I vividly remember the suffering of sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, malnourished and in pain. Today, two years without rain has turned crop fields into dried clay, causing widespread food shortages and famine throughout Somalia. Without any food and no end to the drought in sight, millions are struggling to survive. Many of those fleeing to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia are dying along the way. Two decades since responding to that first crisis, we’ve developed huge networks within Somalia, as well as Kenya, and Ethiopia. Our staff and partners on the ground – physicians, nurses, and health care workers we’ve trained – have mobilized and are providing medical, nutrition and other services. Our work in East Africa has never been more important – to learn more about our emergency response, please take a few minutes to watch this video. Thank you -- your support has allowed us to respond to this massive crisis and save lives. Sincerely, Stephen Tomlin Vice President, Program Policy and Planning International Medical Corps
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.