June 25, 2012 – As a result of harvest delays, deteriorating access to humanitarian assistance, limited livestock holdings, and high food insecurity, southern Somalia has recently deteriorated to an Emergency level classification (Phase 4) by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. An estimated 13.3 million people across the Horn of Africa are in need of emergency assistance and 250,000 people still face immediate starvation without continued humanitarian intervention. Crisis and Emergency levels of food insecurity are expected to persist through at least September 2012 in parts of the Greater Horn.
Since famine conditions were officially declared last year, International Medical Corps has been providing a comprehensive response throughout Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, implementing supplementary feeding sites; nutrition interventions; water, sanitation and hygiene awareness campaigns; and training programs for local health workers to ensure sustainable solutions.
SOMALIA - International Medical Corps is one of the few humanitarian relief organizations operational inside Somalia, where we are responding to emergency nutrition and water and sanitation needs in the Galgadud region as well as Somaliland. In the Sool and Sanaag regions of Somaliland, International Medical Corps is running six outpatient therapeutic sites to identify, prevent, and treat malnutrition. Since May 2011, more than 7,345 pregnant and lactating mothers have received micronutrient supplements and more than 128,338 children have been screened for malnutrition, 2,293 of whom have been enrolled in one of our outpatient sites for further care.
Through a $750,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, International Medical Corps expanded nutrition activities in Sool and Sanaag, which included nutritional screenings, referrals, micronutrients supplements, and vaccinations. This funding also supports activities in Mogadishu, including the rehabilitation of a borehole in an internally displaced persons camp and the operation of mobile clinics.
With funding from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), International Medical Corps has begun supporting outpatient services at a hospital in Mogadishu.
ETHIOPIA - International Medical Corps provides relief to tens of thousands of affected persons in the Dolo Ado area in Ethiopia, where more than 156,000 Somalis are seeking refuge. We are now the largest operational partner in Dolo Ado camps. Over the past month, refugee arrivals have increased to a rate of 100-300 per day, and we have scaled up our emergency operations to meet the demand. We are providing both blanket and supplementary feeding programs, allowing us to deliver targeted care for those who are malnourished, and also protect those who are at-risk by giving them basic food items. We are also building latrines and hand-washing stations, distributing soap and jerry cans, and educating communities on the importance of hygiene. Because displacement and camp conditions can increase women and girls to sexual violence exposure, International Medical Corps is working to prevent and respond to existing cases of gender-based violence by training community members and establishing a referral and case management system.
KENYA - In the Dadaab complex in Kenya, home to 443,000 Somali refugees, security incidents have severely restricted response measures to only lifesaving interventions. The Government of Kenya and international actors continue to press for solutions to improve the security and service delivery. In partnership with AmeriCares, International Medical Corps has built a field hospital in Dadaab in the newest camp, Kambioos. In Samburu, Isiolo, Tana River and Laikipia districts, International Medical Corps has been working in partnership with UNICEF and OFDA to deliver high-impact nutrition interventions in existing health facilities and at the community level. Through this partnership, we provide outpatient therapeutic care services for severe acute malnourished children under 5 years of age, as well as supplementary feeding services for moderate acute malnourished children under 5 and pregnant or lactating women. We also utilize the Mother Care Group model in Samburu, where 1,200 such groups have formed and training is ongoing.
Since its inception nearly 30 years ago, International Medical Corps’ mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease, by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance.