The challenges and our response
Drought conditions continue to worsen in Somalia and famine looms as the country’s long-running armed conflict drags on, taking a heavy toll on civilians in much of the south-central region.
The effects of drought, flooding and displacement in addition to the fighting have left approximately half of the population dependent on outside support for their survival and livelihoods support. The drought continues to drive people from their homes in search of assistance, while disease outbreaks including cholera and measles are spreading. Restrictions on humanitarian access exacerbate the already precarious situation.
Emergency Response to Drought and Threat of Famine: International Medical Corps continues to scale up health and nutrition assistance in Mudug, Galgaduud, and Banadir, three regions at emergency levels of acute food insecurity (IPC 4). In addition, International Medical Corps is providing health, nutrition screening, and water and sanitation (WASH) assistance within the Middle Shabelle Region, currently at crisis levels of food insecurity (IPC 3). This includes mobile medical clinics in Galgaduud, Banadir, and Middle Shabelle that reach remote communities with life-saving care. We are also running a 54-bed stabilisation centre that provides 24-hour care for severely malnourished children with medical complications at Galkayo South Hospital.
In Mogadishu, International Medical Corps is providing primary health and nutrition services in two displacement settlements. This includes screening for and treatment of acute malnutrition as well as community education healthy infant and young child feeding practices and food rations.
Given the urgent and precarious drought conditions, International Medical Corps is implementing an emergency water trucking intervention that will provide safe drinking water to more than 3,000 households (approximately 25,000 people), in four villages in Mudug region. This response is intended as a lifesaving measure to prevent deaths from dehydration, reduce the risk of water-related diseases in villages that have been overwhelmed by an influx of internally displaced populations (IDPs) fleeing conflict, and provide for minimal cooking and personal hygiene. International Medical Corps is also distributing household water storage containers for households in need.
Disease Outbreaks: Cases of cholera/acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) and measles continue to rise across Somalia. These two diseases exacerbate the risk of famine and, when combined with malnutrition, are a deadly combination, especially for children.
International Medical Corps is treating cholera/AWD cases through cholera treatment facilities, many of which are connected to existing hospitals and clinics that we support. We also established oral rehydration points in strategic locations in an effort to prevent people from further dehydrating on their way to a treatment facility.
In Galkayo, International Medical Corps is treating hundreds of cases of measles. With supplies from UNICEF and local and international partners, we are also scaling up vaccination campaigns in villages in Galkayo South as well as Galkayo town.
Nutrition and Secondary Health Care: Galkayo, in the arid Mudug region, has significant nutrition needs. With support from USAID’s Office for Disaster Assistance (OFDA), we are providing integrated nutrition treatment, primary health care services (one health centre and 10 primary health units) and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in peripheral villages of Galkayo South.
International Medical Corps also provides critical secondary health care services and therapeutic feeding of severely malnourished children with funding from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) and UNICEF at Galkayo South Hospital. Services provided include ready-to-use therapeutic foods and micro-nutrient supplements at an out-patient therapeutic program (OTP) and an in-patient stabilisation centre (SC).
In addition, International Medical Corps has partnered with USAID/International Food Relief Partnership Program (IFRP) to implement an emergency nutrition program in Galkacyo South to mitigate the effects of drought and improve the nutrition status of children aged under five. As part of the program, International Medical Corps teams will deliver shelf-stable pre-packed food commodities to children at risk of malnutrition or relapse into severe malnutrition.
International Medical Corps has partnered with UNICEF to establish mother-to-mother and father-to-father care groups that support individual families and help communities manage and prevent malnutrition by improving knowledge and practice of essential child health, nutrition and WASH behaviour.
Internally Displaced Populations (IDPs): International Medical Corps currently provides free routine and emergency health care to an internally displaced population of 56,000 at the second largest IDP camp in Somalia, which is within Mogadishu. We are also providing primary health and nutrition services in two new displacement settlements in Mogadishu. These settlements are home to families fleeing conflict, climatic shocks in other regions in Somalia, as well as marginalised minorities.
The humanitarian situation in Mogadishu remains dire with unmet health needs pervasive across the already high percentage of impoverished, crowded settlements of IDPs in the capital. The numbers of IDPs is expected to increase in the months ahead due to forced refugee returns, repatriation, increased food insecurity and climatic shocks.