Crisis Response in the Horn of Africa


Our current Humanist Crisis Response beneficiary, International Rescue Committee, is working in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia to assist victims of the devastating famine in the Horn of Africa. Here’s an update on their current work: 

In the Mudug region of central Somalia, the IRC is building and repairing wells, hand pumps and pipelines and training community volunteers in hygiene. The IRC is also providing emergency water supplies to women, children and the elderly who have been left behind by men searching for water and arable land and is aiding the communities that take them in. Over 77,000 Somalis, including 17,500 internally displaced people, are taking part in livelihoods programs including livestock distribution and cash-for-work.

The IRC works in Hagadera, one of five camps in the Dadaab refugee camp complex in northeastern Kenya. Since July, more than 1,000 refugees have arrived in Daadab every day from southern Somalia. The Hagadera camp currently houses 137,000 registered refugees. The camp was built for 30,000. The overall refugee population of Daadab is expected to swell by an additional 84,000 in the next year.

In Hagadera, the IRC, in partnership with the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, is providing new arrivals with medical screening, assistance and emergency care. At the IRC hospital in Hagadera, IRC doctors and nurses treat some 500 refugees daily, including malnourished young children who receive fortified food at the IRC’s nutrition stabilization center. The IRC also provides medical care and counseling to rape and sexual assault survivors and is expanding health care to include the local Kenyan host community. In Kambioos, a new camp in Dadaab, the IRC has installed temporary tents to provide medical care. The IRC runs a mobile health clinic that provides primary health care to refugees who are outside Hagadera awaiting registration and is vaccinating refugee children against polio and measles as part of a mass immunization campaign underway in Dadaab.
Malnutrition is alarmingly high in Turkana, in northeastern Kenya, where the malnutrition rate of 33 percent is significantly above the emergency threshold of 15 percent. Malnutrition in the local community is severely affecting the Kakuma refugee camp, which is located in Turkana. There has been a dramatic in increase in local people seeking access to camp services—over 50 percent of admissions at the Kakuma camp’s nutrition stabilization center are from the local community. In response, the IRC and its aid partners have stepped up nutrition programs targeting 390,000 people including 70,000 malnourished children under the age of 5 and pregnant and lactating women. The program includes distribution of supplementary feeding supplies and Vitamin A and immunizations.
In central Turkana, Loima and Turkana West districts, the IRC is trucking water to 10 schools and four health clinics and is providing hygiene supplies, improving hand washing facilities and promoting hygiene awareness. The IRC’s water, sanitation and hygiene efforts are benefiting 7,500 people and nearly 5,000 school children.
The IRC has also launched a malaria prevention effort, targeting 20,000 families.
The drought and concerns over safety continue to drive Somali refugees into the southern regions of Ethiopia. The IRC is trucking in water and installing or expanding water-supply systems at the Dolo Ado camps, where the IRC is the primary agency for water provision. The camps currently serve over 82,000 refugees.
The IRC is also providing comprehensive support to survivors of sexual violence. In the local Ethiopian community, the IRC is providing water, sanitation, hygiene and livestock services to more than 285,000 drought affected people in three regions: Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples; Oromia; and Somali. Plans are being implemented to reach an additional 112,000 people.

Read more at IRC’s website.