As Famine Worsens, AmeriCares Expands Response

U.N. warns 750,000 at risk for starvation in coming months

Photo Courtesy of REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst, www.Alertnet.org
A woman with a baby joins other refugees to the newly-opened Kambioos settlement. Photo Courtesy of REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst, www.Alertnet.org

Amid grim U.N. warnings about the deadly scope of the Horn of Africa famine, AmeriCares has expanded its large-scale emergency response in the region to help save as many lives as possible.

In addition to a series of shipments of crucial medicines, nutritional supplements, water purification tablets and supplies, AmeriCares is building a field hospital  in Kenya to treat thousands of vulnerable Somali refugees at risk of severe malnutrition, disease and chronic illness.

Tens of thousands of refugees have died and more than half a million children are on the brink of starvation. U.N. officials stated that the famine continues to spread, warning that 750,000 people could perish in the next few months unless humanitarian aid increases.

As the crisis worsens, the need is great. Help AmeriCares reduce human suffering and save lives in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia »

Immediate Response

As news of the famine unfolded, a rush shipment was delivered to Mogadishu in early August, supplying emergency medical aid to clinics and mobile teams to treat 15,000 sick children and adults. This was followed by two shipments of enough nutrient-rich meal packs to provide a daily supplemental feeding for 13,000 acutely malnourished people for one month.

In the meantime, AmeriCares finalized plans to open the 4,500-square-foot AmeriCares field hospital within the Kambioos refugee camp established in Kenya to handle the overflow from the Dadaab camp. The hospital will house a therapeutic feeding center, operating room, intensive care unit, as well as a labor and delivery ward, laboratory and pharmacy. AmeriCares partner, International Medical Corps will operate and staff the facility for an anticipated two years. AmeriCares will outfit the hospital with equipment and stock it with an initial supply of medicines and consumables.

Photo courtesy of International Medical Corps (IMC)
Photo courtesy of International Medical Corps (IMC)

Humanitarian Relief Pipeline:

A series of new aid shipments now underway include:

  • Water purification tablets to help 34,000 people:  Clean water remains a constant challenge in the drought-ravaged region. AmeriCares is providing 3.1 million water purifying sachets to be distributed through training programs to replenish water stocks for three camp-based water and sanitation programs in Kenya and for communities suffering famine in southern Ethiopia.  These sachets will produce enough water to benefit 34,000 people for two months.
  • Over $1.2 million in medicines and supplies to stock clinic shelves:  AmeriCares donors responded to an urgent emergency appeal for needed medicines for Somali clinics and hospitals. Complementing with stock from our emergency pharmacy, AmeriCares will deliver over $1.2 million in medicines and supplies for primary care clinics and mobile medical teams working in camp settings around Mogadishu. Additionally, AmeriCares will provide medicines and consumables to treat 15,000 patients in the northern region of Mudug, Somalia.
  • Emergency Cholera Module to mitigate disease outbreak: Cholera outbreaks have begun to sweep through refugee camps overflowing with sick and starving children and adults. Deliveries of additional medicines and supplies to treat treatment cholera and acute watery diarrhea are now being planned to help a growing number of patients suffering with these life-threatening diseases.

Historic Aid to the Region

Since 1985, when severe famine claimed one million lives in Ethiopia, AmeriCares has worked to help African men, women and children in crisis. Previous aid to Somalia includes more than $3 million in medicines, nutritional supplements, and vitamins during the height of the drought and war-stricken nation’s food crisis of 2008-09.