Actress and International Medical Corps Global Ambassador Sienna Miller returned this week from visiting International Medical Corps’ nutrition programs in the Dolo Ado camps in eastern Ethiopia, an area largely inaccessible by media. More than 120,000 Somalis – 30 percent of whom are malnourished – are seeking refuge here from the crippling effects of drought, famine, and conflict. With six regions of Somalia now facing famine, Miller is calling for greater attention to the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today where more than 12.4 million people throughout East Africa require relief.
“Without immediate humanitarian intervention, more than 390,000 children are at risk of starvation,” said Miller. “International Medical Corps is on the ground providing emergency nutrition services and health care to vulnerable populations in Ethiopia as well as in Kenya and Somalia, but they will need ongoing support to meet the massive needs, which are only expected to expand in the coming months. Ongoing support will literally make the difference between life and death for thousands of children in Ethiopia, and throughout the region.”
Having worked since 1991 in Somalia, International Medical Corps is reaching affected populations with nutrition and water, sanitation, and hygiene programs to provide a multi-faceted approach to the crisis. In Sool and Sanaag regions, the organization, with support from UNICEF, screened 11,500 children and admitted 679 children in outpatient therapeutic program sites for advanced nutrition care. Teams also distributed micro-nutrient supplements for 4,850 pregnant and lactating mothers. In addition, trainings were conducted for Ministry of Health staff on community mobilization, nutrition screening, vaccination, and referrals.
At the Dolo Ado camps in Ethiopia, International Medical Corps, in partnership with the Ethiopian Government’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), is providing supplementary feeding services for malnourished people, including the provision of nutrient-dense therapeutic foods. To date, approximately 5,000 children and pregnant and lactating women have undergone nutritional screening and referred to the appropriate level of therapeutic care. Teams also constructed 136 latrines and washrooms with 200 more planned and launched a hygiene campaign to thwart the spread of communicable disease in the overcrowded camps.
At Kambioos refugee camp in Kenya, a part of the Dadaab Complex which is today the largest refugee camp in the world, International Medical Corps is working in partnership with AmeriCares to implement a field hospital with nutrition services and a maternity center. In addition, in Samburu, Isiolo, Tana River and Laikipia districts in Kenya, International Medical Corps has been working in partnership with UNICEF to deliver high-impact nutrition interventions in existing health facilities and at the community level. The organization is scaling up existing programs to support 154 health facilities and planning expansion of feeding points within these drought affected areas.