Mercy Corps

To alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.
Jul 9, 2013

Ya'an response: Reaching families in need

Programs helping children recover from trauma
Programs helping children recover from trauma

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Ya’an Prefecture in central China in late April killed nearly 200 people and affected 2 million across 115 counties. With an office in the quake zone and a strong history of responding to disasters in the area, including the 2008 earthquake in the same region, we at Mercy Corps were able to mobilize quickly and provide immediate relief to survivors because of supporters like you.

Along with our local partner, China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA), we reached even the most remote communities to assess and respond to their needs, with an initial focus on water and hygiene provisions.

Over two months later, people are still living in tents, their homes destroyed — and we are still responding to the needs of the community. 

Thanks to the generous support of donors like you working together we have been able to provide the following:

  • Hygiene kits: We have distributed over 28,000 packages including soap, toothbrushes, diapers and other health care essentials to families. Learn more and see photos 
  • Day care centers: We’re opening urgently needed safe spaces for children to spend time and engage in activities while their parents work on rebuilding their homes, businesses and communities and seek new job opportunities. 
  • Comfort for Kids and Moving Forward: Our signature child psychosocial programs launched in April that help children and their families cope with the trauma and stress caused by the disaster.

While our current focus is on the immediate needs of survivors, in the weeks ahead we will turn our attention to longer term recovery efforts — both for families and for small businesses, helping people bounce back, while building resilience to future shocks.

In recent emergencies like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we provided business start-up and reemployment grants to kickstart the local economies, putting people back to work and strengthening markets. In past emergencies we have also provided Rebuilding Kits, giving families the tools they need to rebuild or deconstruct their homes to salvage personal belongings amidst the rubble.

In disaster prone places, we also work hard to help communities prepare for the next emergency — establishing early warning systems, training community members in disaster preparedness and more — all with the goal of building resilience and decreasing the devastating impact of future events.

By joining together, you and our partners have helped us reach over 110,000. It's just the beginning.

Thank you for your support to improve the lives of those affected by this earthquake. Together, we are making a difference!

Hygiene kits help earthquake survivors
Hygiene kits help earthquake survivors
Contents of hygiene kit distributed
Contents of hygiene kit distributed

Links:

Jun 25, 2013

Emergency funds help families survive

We provided many of our vouchers to women
We provided many of our vouchers to women

Last summer, Aissata Diallo (pictured above) watched her son leave their village in northern Mali. She did not want to let him go, but since her husband died, she had struggled to feed her four children — and at the height of the region’s hunger crisis, their situation had become desperate.

“I have no source of income and no plot to grow food,” she explained. “Often all we had is what neighbors gave me from the rest of their meal.” 

Aissata’s is one of many families that was torn apart last year — not just by the search for food, but by the violence that had taken hold of northern Mali. Thankfully, because of you, last fall we were able to distribute emergency vouchers and provide food to over 20,000 people who were affected by this instability - as mentioned in the last progress report. 

These vouchers not only made a huge impact for mothers like Aissata and their communities, they were also the first step in starting our long-term programs in Mali. 

It is because of your help that I can smile,” Aissata told our distribution team. “It was as if it was my son who had returned to me. These vouchers have value even beyond providing my family with meals — I was proud to choose and receive my items from the market.”

But the conflict that was holding northern Mali hostage all year reached a breaking point in January. When our staff could reach communities again, they found once again that these communities didn’t have access to enough food. So our teams launched again in April what we knew worked for families in these communities - another round of emergency voucher distributions to help people buy food in the reopened markets until harvest season returns. This time, the distributions also addressed the cholera concern that the rainy season brings. Along with offering information about healthy sanitation at the distributions, these vouchers also allow people to purchase hygiene supplies like soap, bleach and water purification tabs.

Recipients like Alkafietou Hamidou, who cares for her blind mother and handicapped daughter, are grateful. “The risk of getting sick is always here,” she said. “Getting these hygiene supplies is really beneficial. It gives me a reason to smile in a difficult life.”

You have helped us bring emergency relief to Mali when they need it most. With your continued support, we will be there, no matter what the circumstances, helping communities steer their own course toward a stronger, more resilient future. Thank you. 

With gratitude,

Carlene Deits

Vendors are coming back to remote areas
Vendors are coming back to remote areas
The vouchers enable families to stock up on basics
The vouchers enable families to stock up on basics

Links:

Jun 24, 2013

Finding her way through drought

Fatumo Ahmed
Fatumo Ahmed

Two years ago, the Horn of Africa experienced the worst drought in 60 years. There was no rainfall in southeastern Ethiopia and the land dried up across the entire region. 

But today there are signs of recovery. 

Pastures, previously cracked and barren, are slowly sprouting new growth and animals are grazing and growing stronger. We have been working in rural Ethiopia to make sure farmers and herding families have the resources they need to build back through their livestock, food stores and markets.

One woman, Fatumo Ahmed, relies on her camels to support her family. Camel milk, full of protein and nutrients, can last one month without refrigeration. Fatumo is able to keep her camels healthy and productive through the veterinary care and proper hygiene advice Mercy Corps provides. And with a better quality product, Fatumo can now take milk to a collection center in the village where she connects with market vendors who pay higher prices for the milk. 

Because of you, Fatumo and her fellow milk producers have something to celebrate after a long hardship of droughtListen to them singing at Mercy Corps’ local collection center last month.

Thank you for helping turn crisis into opportunity for the people of the Horn of Africa. It's ongoing support like yours that makes our work possible. 

With gratitude,

Carlene Deits

Fatumo
Fatumo's camels
Women celebrating at the milk collection center
Women celebrating at the milk collection center

Links:

 

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