Doctors Without Borders Emergency Relief Fund

by Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders Emergency Relief Fund

Project Report | Jul 28, 2016
Final Report on 2014-2015 Emergency Relief Fund

By MSF Staff | MSF-USA

Your donations helped Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) respond to a variety of neglected emergencies.

As MSF teams ran our ongoing projects around the world, they responded to humanitarian emergencies caused by internal conflicts across South Sudan, Yemen, Central African Republic, and Syria, the latter of which resulted in refugee crises in Jordan and Iraq. These programs were made possible, in part, by support from the Emergency Relief Fund.

Thank you for your support and very generous commitment to the Emergency Relief Fund, which enables MSF to launch programs based entirely on need.

2015 Emergency Relief Fund Projects


The suffering of the Syrian people is immeasurable: as the bitter conflict continues, millions of people are enduring the direct consequences of war, as well as being forced to leave their homes and belongings.  At least 220,000 people have been killed and over half the country’s population—a staggering 12 million people—have fled their homes.  At least 670 Syrian medical workers have been killed, and thousands have been kidnapped or displaced by violence, leaving a massive gap in medical expertise inside Syria.  As a result, hundreds of thousands of people are living in besieged areas inside the country, with extremely limited access to healthcare. 

MSF has been running programs inside Syria since the war began in 2011. By 2013, we were running six hospitals in opposition-held areas.  Due to an increasingly insecure environment, MSF international staff can no longer work inside most of Syria so MSF is managing its facilities in Aleppo and Idlib remotely with international teams based in neighboring countries.  A small number of international staff, however, are able to work safely at our programs in northeast Syria. 

The 27-bed Aleppo hospital run by MSF Syrian staff offers a wide range of services including outpatient and inpatient consultations, surgical care, an emergency room, and a maternity unit. In addition the MSF team provides mental health care, and can refer patients to other structures if they cannot be treated in the MSF hospital.

In Idlib, MSF is running the only burn unit in northern Syria where people can get the specialist care they need, such as skin grafts, dressing changes performed in an operating room under anesthesia, physiotherapy, and post-operative care.  MSF’s 15-bed burn unit is staffed by Syrian medical professionals and supported by an international team in southern Turkey.  In Hasakah, in northeast Syria, MSF runs several health clinics that offer primary health care services. 

Inside the Kobane Canton area of northern Syria, which is administered by the interim Kurdish government, MSF has worked alongside Kobane public health staff since March 2015.  We are re-establishing basic health facilities and vaccination services, providing outpatient health care, and creating mental health support programs.  

In addition to these projects, MSF has been supporting a growing number of medical structures in government-held and opposition-controlled areas throughout the country, with a particular emphasis on structures in areas under siege.  By October 2015, MSF was actively supporting more than 150 medical structures which vary from small rural health posts to full hospitals in urban areas.  The supported structures are located throughout the country, including Idlib, Aleppo, Homs, Hama, rural Damascus, and Deraa in the south.  Through all of these programs, we are reaching millions of people caught in one of the worst conflicts of our time. 

Outcomes at MSF programs in Syria in 2015 include:

  • Conducted 23,010 outpatient consultations, 1,069 inpatient consultations, 11,251 emergency room treatments, and 900 surgeries at Aleppo Hospital through August 2015.
  • Provided 18,000 consultations at MSF clinics in Hasakah between January and June and supported a maternity clinic that conducted 571 deliveries. 
  • Carried out 11,800 consultations at MSF clinics in the Kobane Canton area of northern Syria from March through September.
  • Supported the local health authorities in providing measles vaccinations and vitamin A for 5,776 children in August.
  • Received requests for fuel from a number of hospitals in northern Syria and donated more than 1,600 gallons to 15 health structures and ambulance networks in Aleppo, Idlib and Hama governorates.
  • Supported more than 150 medical structures throughout Syria, donating medical supplies and essential relief items and providing weekly distance training and technical medical advice to directors of makeshift hospitals. 


MSF is caring for hundreds of thousands of refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq, where more than four million Syrians have sought refuge from the ongoing war.  To lessen the refugee burden on health systems of Jordan and Iraq, MSF has established a number of projects that perform surgery, treat non-communicable diseases, and offer maternal, pediatric, and mental health care.  Because more than three-quarters of the Syrian refugees are women and children, the majority of our programs focus on providing women and children with access to medical care. 

MSF’s Reconstructive Surgery Project in Amman, Jordan’s capital city, was established in 2006 to offer orthopedic, maxillofacial and plastic surgery, as well as physiotherapy and psychosocial support to victims of violence in the region.  As the conflict in neighboring Syria escalated, the number of Syrian patients increased, and today, more than 50 percent of patients are Syrian.  MSF renovated a new hospital for the project in Amman and moved to the new structure in August 2015, which has allowed our teams to improve quality.  Since the project began nine years ago, MSF’s Reconstructive Surgery team in Amman has conducted 8,238 surgeries.

For the past two years, MSF’s Emergency Surgical Program inside the Al Ramtha Government Hospital has been offering life-saving trauma surgery for patients injured in the Syrian conflict.  Located just a few miles from the Syrian border, the project has had more than 1,850 war-wounded patients arrive from Syria.  Around 75 percent of these patients were suffering from poly-trauma resulting from blast injuries. 

The northern Jordanian governorate of Irbid has one of the highest concentrations of Syrian refugees.  Following assessments in 2013, MSF established a maternal health and pediatrics hospital in this northern town, close to the border with Syria.  The project offers free obstetric and neonatal care, prenatal and postnatal care, inpatient and outpatient pediatric care, as well as a pediatric mental health program.  The urgent need for these services has increased as Jordanian authorities have decided that all Syrian refugees, whether registered or not, would have to pay for health care. 

The Kurdish Region of Iraq has been hosting the vast majority of the 251,000 Syrian refugees currently in Iraq.  Despite the overwhelming crisis affecting Iraq today, some international humanitarian organizations are scaling down their assistance to Syrian refugees in the country. 

Since May 2012, MSF has been the main provider of health services to Syrian refugees in Domiz refugee camp, including primary and reproductive health care, chronic diseases and mental health support.  MSF also offers emergency services and referrals to Dohuk hospital.  MSF also provides mental health services in two refugee camps in Erbil governorate – Kawargosk camp and Darashakran camp.

Outcomes at MSF programs in Jordan and Iraq in 2015 include:

  • Carried out more than 2,900 surgical interventions at MSF’s Emergency Surgical Program at Al Ramtha Government Hospital over the past two years.
  • Established a 40-bed post-operative care facility in the Zaatari refugee camp to treat patients discharged from MSF’s Al Ramtha trauma surgery project.  Between January and September 2015, 133 patients received medical treatment at the facility and around 400 psychosocial support sessions were conducted.
  • Upgraded the Irbid maternal health and pediatrics hospital with an intensive care unit and the ability to manage complicated deliveries and perform C-sections.
  • Opened two new clinics in Irbid governorate to treat Syrian patients and vulnerable Jordanians with chronic health conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes and asthma.  By the end of September 2015, there were 2,893 patients under treatment in the two clinics.
  • Carried out 63,314 consultations in Domiz refugee camp in Iraq and delivered 660 babies at the MSF-run maternity unit between January and June 2015.


MSF is committed to providing lifesaving medical care in South Sudan, offering aid to people affected by conflict, as well as to many others who lack of access to medical care. Healthcare in South Sudan was already weak before the recent waves of violence started.  Now the coping mechanisms of hundreds of thousands of people are stretched to the breaking point. 

Since the beginning of April 2015, clashes in Upper Nile state have displaced tens of thousands of people who have sought sanctuary at a United Nations Protection of Civilians camp in Bentiu.  By the end of the year, the camp population had doubled to an estimated 110,000 people.  The increasing numbers of displaced people, however, is straining the few existing resources, including the MSF hospital at the camp, which is nearing full capacity. 

Teams treated a significant increase in malaria cases in the camp in Bentiu over the summer.  To handle the increase, MSF opened six new health facilities in the camp, providing care to as many as 4,000 malaria patients on a weekly basis.  To limit the complications of severe malaria, MSF provided immediate access to diagnostics and treatment, screening over 30,000 children under five and providing treatment to 16,000. 

Rising violence against civilians in southern Unity State is depriving the population of shelter, food, and medical care.  As the conflict intensified, violence against the civilian population escalated.  MSF teams in southern Unity State hear daily reports of extortions, abductions, mass rapes, and killings, and have witnessed villages burnt to the ground and crops looted and destroyed.  MSF has not seen this level of violence and brutality before.  An MSF compound in the town of Leer was looted on October 3rd, forcing MSF's Leer hospital to close for the second time since May.  MSF's staff was forced to evacuate, leaving vulnerable people in the surrounding areas without medical care, food support, or other assistance.

Outcomes at MSF programs in South Sudan in 2015 (through October) include:

  • Ran one of MSF’s largest programs in the world with MSF teams, made up of more than 3,200 South Sudanese staff and 350 international staff, at 18 projects across South Sudan. 
  • Provided outpatient care to 532,000 people, including 198,000 children under the age of five, and assisted in the delivery of 10,255 babies.
  • Hospitalized nearly 32,000 people in our inpatient facilities, including 11,738 children under five years old, performed 8,574 surgeries, and treated over 4,776 people with war wounds. 
  • Treated nearly 11,000 severely malnourished children, including 4,042 with complications who were so sick that they needed 24-hour care in our inpatient feeding centers.
  • Treated 151,681 patients with malaria, and responded to a severe outbreak in the Bentiu camp from July to October. 


The humanitarian crisis in Yemen grows more catastrophic each day. While the political struggle unfolds, civilians are caught in the crossfire and the population is suffering enormously.  The conflict in Yemen currently has the country divided between the Houthi movement which controls the north of the country and an anti-Houthi coalition based mainly in the South.  A coalition of mainly Gulf States led by Saudi Arabia started airstrikes against the Houthi in late March.  Fighting and indiscriminate airstrikes have harmed civilians, medical facilities, and critical infrastructure, disabling the only international airport.  The UN reports that in the first month of the airstrikes, at least 1,000 people were killed, over 4,350 were injured, and 150,000 fled their homes. 

Huge humanitarian needs exist on the ground in Yemen, and MSF is working nonstop to meet some of these needs through a variety of new emergency programs.  MSF currently works in Aden, Al-Dhale’, Taiz, Sa’ada, Amran, Hajja, Ibb, and Sana’a.  A total of 790 MSF staff are currently working in the country, including 64 international staff. 

MSF is running an Emergency Surgical Hospital in Sheikh Othman district, in the north of the city of Aden.  MSF is also providing mental health care and physiotherapy in the hospital. Victims of landmines and unexploded ordinances have been increasing since August (more than 60 cases between mid-August and late October).

In the southern part of Aden, MSF started working at an emergency clinic in April, where MSF staff provided trauma care and treated more than 1,200 wounded patients in the emergency room.  Between May and July, MSF had outpatient mobile surgical clinics in the health centers of Enma and in Al-Sha’b districts to provide outpatient care to surgical patients who could not get to the MSF hospital.  More than 1,220 war wounded were provided surgical follow-up consultations and wound dressings.  As movement is easier now, MSF is receiving these patients in its hospital in Aden, but is still providing drugs and dressing materials to the health centers.

Since the beginning of May 2015, MSF has been providing emergency medications and surgical supplies to five hospitals in Taiz.  During this period, MSF set up and equipped three extra emergency rooms at Al-Rawdah Hospital to allow extra space for handling mass casualties, while continuing to support the hospital’s main ER with supplies and staffing.  MSF has four medical doctors and one nurse working in the ER of Al-Rawdah Hospital.  The team also set up a hospital-to-hospital referral system with two ambulances.

  • Delivered more than 400 tons of medical supplies to MSF-run and supported facilities in Yemen.
  • Treated more than 15,500 war-wounded patients since March 2015, including 3,800 at the emergency room of Al-Rawdah Hospital, where MSF has been working since May
  • Performed more than 4,662 surgical interventions and received 6,478 war wounded at MSF’s surgical center in Aden from the beginning of 2015 through November.
  • Received 36,710 patients in the emergency room, including more than 2,000 war wounded, at MSF projects in Al-Dhale’ from March to November.
  • Opened a maternal and child health project in November in Taiz governorate, where many health facilities are closed or overloaded. 


Renewed outbreaks of intercommunal violence have kept the population of CAR on edge in recent months.  The worsening situation also means that about 450,000 people who were displaced by violence, along with a similar number of refugees who fled to neighboring countries, have little hope of returning home due Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

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Doctors Without Borders

Location: New York, NY - USA
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Twitter: @MSF_USA
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