International Medical Corps announced at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting a commitment to immediately address the nutritional and health needs of 200,000 individuals suffering from the effects of famine and drought in the Horn of Africa. International Medical Corps will scale-up targeted nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs in drought-affected regions in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
“International Medical Corps is extremely grateful to the Clinton Global Initiative for helping to shine a light on the catastrophe that has hit the Horn of Africa, and the challenges we face in addressing the suffering of millions of people,” said International Medical Corps President & CEO Nancy A. Aossey.
“Having worked in the region since 1991, when we were the first American NGO to deliver humanitarian relief inside Somalia during the civil war and subsequent famine, we recognize that the only way we can hope to mitigate these devastating cycles of drought and hunger is by combining relief with community-based activities that build resilience to these disasters and address the underlying causes of food shortages and poverty.”
The UN has declared famine in six areas of Somalia where more than 400,000 children are at risk of starvation. Nearly a million Somalis have already streamed across borders to neighboring countries including Ethiopia and Kenya in search of basic resources.
International Medical Corps teams on-the-ground are working to reach severely malnourished people with lifesaving nutrition interventions in Somalia, Somaliland, Ethiopia and Kenya. True to the organization’s mission, teams are simultaneously implementing training programs for local health workers to maximize the impact and sustainability of their relief efforts. As the humanitarian community predicts that famine conditions will intensify and continue into 2012, International Medical Corps is working to expand existing response programs to meet ongoing needs.
In Sool and Sanaag regions in Somaliland, International Medical Corps is implementing an emergency nutrition program targeting children under five and pregnant and lactating women. Through six Outpatient Therapy (OTP) sites and four outreach teams covering areas where there are no static OTP sites, the organization is working to reach severely malnourished children with nutrition screenings, supplementary feedings of nutrient-dense foods, and medications.
Near Dolo Ado in the Somali Region of Ethiopia, more than 120,000 Somalis are seeking shelter and basic resources in refugee camps. International Medical Corps, in partnership with the Ethiopian Government’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), is implementing supplementary feeding services for malnourished people, including the provision of nutrient-dense therapeutic foods. The organization is also building latrines; disseminating hygiene education and supplies; and training community members on gender-based violence awareness and prevention.
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 and its partners are constructing a field hospital with nutrition services and a maternity center. The organization is also providing support to 154 health facilities throughout Samburu, Isiolo, Tana River and Laikipia districts and in the coming year, will expand feeding points within these drought-affected areas.
“This crisis is continuing to unfold and International Medical Corps is committed to helping the people in the Horn of Africa now and into the future,” said Aossey.