Syria, 3 Years of Conflict: International Medical Corps Continues to Deliver Comprehensive Response Programs throughout Region
March 2014 marks the 3-year anniversary of the protracted crisis in Syria. Estimates of those displaced within the country run as high as 6.5 million with the UN predicting 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 and communities, 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, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.
Within Syria, 9.5 million are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. In Damascus and Rif Damascus, we are currently operating mobile medical units and supporting 25 health care facilities. We have delivered almost 180,000 health care consultations for conflict-affected people since April 2012. In addition, we have:
- Provided mental health and psychosocial support services to nearly 17,000 displaced Syrians
- Reached more than 49,000 people with critical kits for cooking, first aid and hygiene
- Implemented a hygiene campaign in eight shelters stressing preventative messages on safe drinking water, hand washing, food hygiene and polio awareness as well as additional topics
- Distributed winter clothes in shelters benefitting a total of 3,245 people
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 throughout the country to respond to the growing humanitarian needs. We have mobilized additional medical and psychosocial support teams to provide services and are working with 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 104,000 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 youth under 18 attended International Medical Corps-run child friendly spaces at the camp.
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 are running 7 mobile medical units and expanding our PHC network from 10 to 39 centers. Since the start of 2013, International Medical Corps has provided over 180,000 PHC consultations, and reached over 270,000 Syrian refugees through health awareness sessions.
In Iraqi Kurdistan, International Medical Corps is currently working with refugees in Domiz camp. Through our mobile medical clinics we have provided over 3,000 consultations to date. Our teams are concentrating their work in camp sectors which are on the outskirts of Domiz - areas where the sick and disabled have difficulty reaching PHC clinics. In addition, gender-based violence (GBV) community outreach teams have provided services to over 200 GBV survivors.
In Turkey, International Medical Corps is working with refugees in southern Turkey, providing primary health care consultations, mental health and psychosocial services. To date, we have provided over 33,000 consultations at the supported clinic in Kilis Camp, provided health education messages to over 3,000 households, and provided over 600 refugees with mental health and psychosocial services. In addition, we are providing activities for youth through our child friendly spaces, and have had over 4,000 participants to date.
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.