The humanitarian consequences of the violence in Syria, even compared to the desolation and conflict in Central African Republic and South Sudan, are shocking. The fighting has made it extremely difficult for humanitarian agencies to gain access to vulnerable communities. Almost 11 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria, 6.5 million people are internally displaced, and 3+ million refugees have fled to neighboring countries. The UN predicts that by the end of 2014, neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey will see over 4 million refugees. As refugee populations are increasingly stressing already fragile systems in host countries, the humanitarian crisis has developed into a large-scale social and economic emergency affecting the entire region.
Despite the challenges to access within Syria as well as in ever-evolving camp and urban areas hosting refugees throughout neighboring countries, International Medical Corps is continuing to provide comprehensive response programs in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
In Damascus, Rif Damascus and Tartous International Medical Corps is operating mobile medical units and supporting 19 health care facilities. We have delivered more than 300,000 patient consultations for conflict-affected people since April 2012. In addition, we have provided mental health and psychosocial support services to more than 27,000 displaced Syrians and reached more than 70,000 people with distributions of hygiene kits, cooking kits and community first aid kits.
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In Iraq, International Medical Corps currently provides primary health care services to refugees and IDPs who have taken shelter in two northern Iraq camps. We continue to support Erbil Governoratel via Mobile Medical Units (MMUs) and with mental health services for IDPs and refugees. International Medical Corps community health workers provide health education sessions in the camps and via MMUs. Topics covered include hand washing, breasfeeding, vaccination, antenatal care and general and personal hygiene.
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In Jordan, International Medical Corps provides primary health care, mental health and psychosocial support services at static and mobile clinics to Iraqi and Syrian refugees as well as vulnerable host populations. In response to the dramatic influx of refugees into Jordan, we have been working to expand mental health and psychosocial support services on the border and throughout the country. We have mobilized additional medical and psychosocial support teams to provide services and are working with our longtime partner Jordan Health Aid Society to deploy local medical personnel.
In partnership with UNICEF and Save the Children, International Medical Corps provides mental health and psychosocial support services, in addition to trainings for partner organizations, at UNHCR’s Za’atari refugee camp, where close to 80,000 Syrians now reside. Since over 55% of camp residents are under the age of 18, we are also conducting youth empowerment activities for Syrian teens. In 2013, 32,000 children under 18 visited International Medical Corps-run child friendly spaces at the camp.
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In Lebanon, we provide primary health care (PHC) and psychosocial support services to Syrian refugees, as well as Iraqi refugees and members of the host population. We also operate 9 mobile medical units and support 45 health facilities throughout the country providing nearly 30,000 consultations per month. Since the start of 2014, International Medical Corps has provided over 250,000 PHC consultations.
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Since the outbreak of the crisis in March 2011, the number of Syrians seeking refuge in Turkey has continued to increase. In August, the Turkish Government’s Agency for Disaster Management (AFAD) reported 825,012 registered Syrian refugees in Turkey making it the world’s sixth-largest refugee-hosting country. However, the total number of refugees is believed to be much higher with 1.6 million refugees expected to be in Turkey by the end of 2014.
In southern Turkey, International Medical Corps is working with refugees, providing PHC consultations, mental health and psychosocial services. To date, we have delivered 98,519 consultations at the clinics in Kilis, Mersin, Nizip, Reyhanli and Sanliurfa, provided health education to over 20,220 households, and reached over 763 refugees with mental health and psychosocial services. In addition, we are conducting child friendly activities and have had 1,965 participants to date.
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Facts at a Glance
10.8 million People in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria
6.5 million Internally Displaced Persons in Syria
3+ million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries
5.5 million Children affected by the crisis
1.1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon
1.1 million Syrian refugees in Turkey
618,600 Syrian refugees in Jordan
225,400 Syrian refugees in Iraq
*Information courtesy of USAID
Since its inception 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 and sustainable development projects that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance.