In a world beset by armed conflict and in which natural disasters alone affect 250 million people each year, rapid deployment of Emergency Response Teams to help those in distress is a fundamental part of International Medical Corps’ mission. Using existing close ties at the local level, International Medical Corps can get aid and health care quickly where it is needed most. By building relationships at the local, national, and international level, International Medical Corps helps local communities reduce risk, as well as prepare for and respond to crises.
International Medical Corps’ flexibility, experience, and access to a network of local professionals and humanitarian workers globally have made it one of the world’s most effective rapid response agencies, saving lives by providing basic services: health care, clean water, food and shelter.
As a member of the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID) Rapid Response Network, International Medical Corps is prepared to respond fast and effectively to humanitarian emergencies anywhere in the world. This streamlined funding will remove the paperwork that can delay the arrival of life saving supplies, experts and equipment in the crucial hours following earthquakes, floods, famines and other humanitarian emergencies.
At the country’s borders and within Libya, we supplied those displaced by the fighting with essential relief items, including blankets, bottled water and food. Recognising the danger posed by communicable diseases, our sanitation and hygiene specialists constructed latrines and washing stations in transit camps along the Tunisia borders.
As the fighting went on International Medical Corps worked as close to the front line as possible, providing emergency treatment to those injured in the conflict, and medicines and supplies to besieged towns and cities. In Misurata, inaccessible by road, we evacuated nearly 500 injured civilians by boat. International Medical Corps’ mobile field hospitals treated the wounded from battles in Tripoli, the Western Mountains, Bani Walid, Sabha, Jufrah and Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte.
Since the death of Qaddafi in October 2011 and the end of widespread fighting, International Medical Corps has remained in Libya. Our teams of health specialists are supporting primary health care through 15 clinics across Libya, training a range of health professionals and strengthening the capacity of the Libyan health sector to tackle the health, mental health and rehabilitation needs of a country emerging from war.
International Medical Corps also coordinated from the outset with other NGOs and hospital administration to fill critical gaps. At the height of emergency operations at the hospital, International Medical Corps treated approximately 1,000 patients per day. Our early entry also gave us the foundation to rapidly expand our operations to 15 mobile clinics throughout Haiti to provide critical services. Through the hospital and mobile and fixed clinics, International Medical Corps teams provided more than 110,000 patient consultations during the first year following the emergency.
When reports of acute diarrhoea emerged from the north of Haiti in October 2010, International Medical Corps doctors and nurses immediately deployed to the region providing emergency relief for the growing cholera crisis. Our network of rapidly constructed cholera treatment centres, supported by 820 community health volunteers to educate communities on how to prevent and identify cholera, meant that more than 30,000 cholera patients received life-saving treatment within the first year following the outbreak.
Due to stagnant floodwaters, poor sanitation conditions and contaminated drinking water, our doctors were regularly treating acute respiratory infections, skin infections and diarrheal diseases which if left untreated can prove fatal.
When floods returned in 2011, International Medical Corps was once again able to deploy life saving medical teams. Our staff, already working in government health facilities in Sindh province immediately began providing medical services to the affected population. International Medical Corps also deployed 20 additional rapid response medical teams to the worst-affected districts. At the height of our response, International Medical Corps was treating more than 40,000 patients in Sindh province alone.