Emergency Update: The worst Ethiopian drought in more than 50 years, driven by the changing weather patterns of El Niño, means that over 10 million people currently require food aid, and that number could increase to 15 million by the end of 2016. Pregnant women and children are especially vulnerable in a drought and more than 420,000 Ethiopian children are expected to need treatment for severe acute malnutrition this year. International Medical Corps has been working in the country for the past 13 years, providing treatment for malnourished children and programs in water, sanitation and hygiene, food and livelihood security and comprehensive health care. Since 2009, we have successfully treated nearly 100,000 children and pregnant and lactating women with malnutrition. International Medical Corps is extremely concerned about the situation and continues to monitor progress of the crisis while providing critical health care to vulnerable populations. Since 2011, we have established 83 outpatient programs and 8 in-patient stabilization centers to help treat children with severe acute malnutrition. Read more about our response to drought in the Horn of Africa.
Widely recognized as the cradle of human civilization, Ethiopia has a unique and diverse culture with its own alphabet, time system and calendar. Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Sub-Saharan Africa (94 million), with more than 80% living in rural, remote areas. Although experiencing significant economic growth, declining poverty and improving food security; continued stable growth remains crucial to achieving longer term sustainability. Ethiopia remains vulnerable to climate-related shocks, drought, flooding, disease and internal conflicts. High rates of maternal and infant mortality, limited access to potable water, lack of sanitation/hygiene facilities, poor nutrition and lack of food security continue to affect much of the population. Despite these internal challenges, Ethiopia also provides asylum and care to Africa’s largest refugee population (629,718 total) from South Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia.
Against this backdrop and since 2003, International Medical Corps has operated a diversified humanitarian and development program in Ethiopia, providing lifesaving, life-preserving and life-sustaining services. We provide support and training in Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH), agricultural livelihoods, prevention of gender-based violence, nutrition, mental health, sexual reproductive health, primary health care, HIV/AIDS and other critically needed programs. International Medical Corps programs in Ethiopia work in rural, urban and refugee settings and are designed to be sustainable through full community participation. We are currently working together with families and communities in six regional states of Ethiopia.
In the western Gambela regional state, close to 190,000 persons fleeing the conflict in South Sudan have sought asylum. International Medical Corps is providing gender-based violence (GBV), mental health and sexual reproductive health services to 150,000 refugees living in three refugee camps.
International Medical Corps also continues our work as the largest humanitarian partner in the Dolo refugee camps of the Somali regional state providing GBV, mental health, sanitation-hygiene and prevention of sexual exploitation/abuse services in three refugee camps with a total population of 120,000 refugees.