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Famine Classified in Three New Areas of Somalia; International Medical Corps Responding in Somalia, Ethiopia & Kenya

Source: International Medical Corps - USA - Thu, 4 Aug 2011 20:27 GMT
Author: Jaya Vadlamudi
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August 4, 2011 - Los Angeles, Calif. – The drought and famine crisis in East Africa is intensifying with more than 12 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya urgently in need of humanitarian assistance, and the numbers increasing daily. The UN has declared famine in three additional areas in southern Somalia, bringing the total to five zones and more than 3.7 million people nationwide in crisis.  Having worked throughout the region since 1991, International Medical Corps is responding within Somalia and in refugee camps at the borders in Ethiopia and Kenya as well as scaling up resources for drought-stricken host communities in Ethiopia and Kenya.   As drought and famine require a multi-faceted approach, our programs include nutrition services to address staggering malnutrition rates, water/sanitation/hygiene, and targeted services for overcrowded refugee camp conditions including gender-based violence awareness and case management.Near Dolo Ado in the Somali Region of Ethiopia, more than 115,000 Somali refugees reside in three camps with another 1,700 awaiting placement in transit centers.  International Medical Corps, in partnership with the Ethiopian Government’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), has scaled up supplementary feeding services for malnourished people, including the provision of nutrient-dense therapeutic foods.Approximately 88% of the population at Kobe camp is below 18 according to UNHCR, with children under 5 showing the highest malnutrition rates. International Medical Corps teams are providing nutrition screenings for infants, children and pregnant women as part of our supplementary feeding services.   Teams have also trained ARRA staff to strengthen the referral pathway for children suffering from malnutrition into the appropriate nutrition treatment services at the camps. To date, approximately 3,000 children and pregnant and lactating women have undergone nutritional screening and referred to the appropriate level of therapeutic care.  International Medical Corps is concerned about a potential cholera outbreak in the Dolo Ado camps – poor sanitation and overcrowded camp conditions can greatly increase the risk of infectious disease. In response, our teams are constructing 50 latrines/washrooms and have launched a hygiene campaign at Kobe camp this week. In addition, International Medical Corps is providing gender-based violence awareness training for community leaders and will also implement mental health and reproductive health services, including the provision of healthcare for pregnant women. A team is also assessing needs among the Ethiopian host population surrounding the camps where local resources have been stretched thin due to the influx of arrivals.For more detailed information about International Medical Corps’ drought and famine response throughout East Africa including in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, please visit: http://internationalmedicalcorps.org/page.aspx?pid=1348Since its inception more than 25 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 that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance. For more information visit:  www.InternationalMedicalCorps.org.  Also see us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Contact: Jaya VadlamudiSenior Communications Officerjvadlamudi@InternationalMedicalCorps.org+1 310.826.7800

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