4.25 million have been forced from their homes within the country because of the civil war raging in Syria.
More than 100,000 have been killed by the conflict.
2 million refugees have fled into Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.
In response to the massive humanitarian needs, International Medical Corps is providing critical health services within Syria.
Despite the challenges International Medical Corps is currently providing lifesaving help through mobile medical units and supporting existing health care facilities. At static clinics where International Medical Corps provides primary health care services, we have nurses and doctors specifically focused on the needs of conflict-affected Syrians.
Since April 2012, International Medical Corps has reached more than 115,000 conflict-affected Syrians in and around Damascus with health care, mental health care and psychosocial support, blankets, cooking equipment and other critical supplies.
As more than two million people are confirmed by UNHCR to have fled into neighboring countries, International Medical Corps is also scaling up our operations in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq to reach Syrians in desperate need of our help.
Read about our work in Jordan
Read about our work in Lebanon
At Za’atri camp, where more than 100,000 Syrians are living in temporary shelter, lives 21-year-old Ala’, who worked in a beauty salon in Dara’a and is volunteering with International Medical Corps at a Youth Empowerment Centre it operates with UNICEF. Children at the centre engage in activities that help them recover from their painful experiences. Case managers and psychologists screen the most at-risk children for further mental health interventions. In addition, they address protection and safety issues in the camp, working to reduce risks to those most vulnerable.
Ala’ fled along with her 20-month-old and her six siblings, when shelling destroyed her neighbourhood five months ago. Two of her cousins were injured – one, a 3-year-old, lost his leg. Ala’ was terrified to leave the only home she had ever known, and terrified of what would become of her and her family in Jordan.
But today she is a paid volunteer for International Medical Corps, teaching the children how to paint and create beautiful henna designs on their hands.
So often, the way people in crisis are able to heal is by reaching out to help others. Ala’ says it feels good to be able to put her skills to work, giving something back to the children from her own community. She says she has a sense of purpose and can see beyond her own struggles.
Just 22 hours after the devastating 7.0-earthquake hit in January 2010, International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team was on the ground in Haiti providing medical care to survivors. Our doctors and nurses were able to mobilise on an unparalleled scale to provide 24-hour emergency care to the acutely injured at the Hôpital de l’Université d’État d’Haiti (HUEH), a 700-bed hospital in Port-au-Prince. HUEH was badly damaged in the earthquake and many local health care professionals were missing. We were able to save thousands of lives through emergency and trauma care in the critical days following the earthquake.
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.
International Medical Corps was among the first organisations to enter Libya once the conflict began in February 2011, providing emergency medical care to casualties from the fighting and support to hospitals with medical staff and supplies. Among the first challenges our Emergency Response Teams encountered was a chronic shortage of nurses, as thousands of foreign nurses had fled the country. In partnership with the Jordan Health Aid Society, International Medical Corps immediately deployed volunteer nurses to health centres across eastern Libya moving them to towns and cities throughout the country as access permitted. Volunteer nurses trained the local counterparts while working alongside them.
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.
International Medical Corps mobilized an emergency response in Mali in January 2013 after rebel armed forces from the north began moving south, triggering French military intervention. In Timbuktu, which had spent months under the control of armed Islamist rebel our team were amongst the first international organisations to arrive and found pillaged clinics, missing medical personnel and damaged health infrastructure.
We immediately began supporting eight strategically targeted health clinics in remote areas around Timbuktu, where the Malian Ministry of Health has been unable to maintain adequate services to local communities. By providing medicines, training staff and recruiting qualified doctors and nurses, we can ensure local people will now have access to basic primary and secondary health care for the first time in months
True to our mission to build self reliance, International Medical Corps is also already training community health workers to go out to local markets and spread essential hygiene, reproductive health and nutrition messages. We are also working to rehabilitate clinics damaged during the conflict, by building or repairing latrines, water systems, solar panel systems and other infrastructure repairs, enabling health workers to have stable and well-equipped facilities to help the people of Mali.
Basanti, a young mother of two in Nepal, returned home from fetching water for her family to find her 8-month old son Bishal had fallen into the open cooking fire. Basanti was in shock, but she wrapped her baby in blankets and ran for help. No one in their village or at the local health post knew what to do so she had to travel more than six hours by bus to seek emergency care at the closest hospital. The district hospital could only stabilize Bishal and wasn’t able to treat his wounds properly. As a result, his little fingers contracted into a fist as the burned skin contracted and “healed” over the coming year, making it impossible for him to use his hand. His cheek, lips and eyelid also contracted and tightened, threatening his vision.
After selling part of their farm to pay for transportation to Kathmandu, Basanti sought further treatment for her baby. However, two hospitals in the nation’s capital could not help either. Adding to Basanti’s struggles, her husband abandoned the family, leaving her alone to care for Bishal and his four-year-old sister.
Thankfully, Basanti heard about the surgical care available through ReSurge International, our trusted partner with a 43-year history of serving burn victims. Dr. Rai, ReSurge’s Outreach Director in Nepal, and his team restored Bishal’s eyelid and his hand will soon be surgically repaired as well.
Even though it took more than a year for him to get appropriate treatment, Bishal is one of the lucky ones. Thousands of children never get the care they need to live a normal life after a disabling burn.