What to Watch for in 2019

Which countries will you be hearing more about this coming year?

Though a new year holds the promise of a fresh start for some, 2019 promises to be an extraordinarily challenging year for others.

Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria are just a few of the countries where communities will face an uphill battle to survive. What are the main drivers of each crisis? More importantly, what can we do together to alleviate the suffering of those affected?

Cameroon

Why are we concerned?

The conflict in the anglophone regions of Cameroon — the northwest and southwest regions — is expanding and intensifying.

“437,000 people were internally displaced in anglophone regions as of November and an estimated 40,000 have fled to Nigeria. With no peace agreement in sight, tensions, violence and mass atrocities are likely to increase, and conflict is likely to spread further to main urban centers as well as toward west and littoral regions.” — ACAPS, Crisis insight, Global Risk Analysis 2019

How are we responding?

As displacement and humanitarian needs continue to increase, Cameroon is struggling to meet the needs of refugees and internally displaced people alike. Our teams on the ground are helping to address the prevalence of malnutrition among these vulnerable populations by providing nutritional supplements to mothers and young children. We’re also helping strengthen local capacity by training traditional birth attendants and other healthcare providers throughout the country.

Central African Republic (CAR)

Photo: Patrick Meinhardt

Why are we concerned?

For many of CAR’s nearly 5 million inhabitants, violence is an everyday threat, due to numerous armed groups. This often results in large-scale displacement and refugee movements in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Photos: Patrick Meinhardt

How are we responding?

Our teams provide emergency medical care and surgeries for conflict survivors, often operating under intense pressure and dangerous conditions.

In addition to health programs, we provide nutrition screenings, treatment for acute malnutrition and community education — including training in remote areas to raise awareness of and help prevent gender-based violence, and to advocate for the safety and protection of children and youth.

Chad

Why are we concerned?

Thousands of refugees have poured into Chad to escape conflict in the neighboring Central African Republic. The ongoing Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad Basin — comprising parts of Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon — has created internal displacement in Chad as well as an influx of refugees seeking safety from violence. Additionally, Chad still struggles with the drought and food insecurity that is affecting the entire Sahel region.

How are we responding?

Since the start of our work in Chad in 2004, our services have reached an estimated 180,000 beneficiaries per year, including internally displaced people, Sudanese and Central African Republic refugees, and host community members. Through a network of health centers, mobile medical units and a hospital in the Lake Region, we deliver essential services, including secondary and primary healthcare, nutritional support, and maternal and child health services. In all of our programs, we partner with local communities and emphasize training to develop the capacity needed for long-term recovery.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Why are we concerned?

In DRC, more than 13.1 million people need help. Increased insecurity, political violence and widespread civil unrest are likely to create new humanitarian needs, particularly for protection, health and livelihoods. In addition, the latest Ebola outbreak in the country — the second-largest in history — shows no signs of slowing.

How are we responding?

International Medical Corps began working in DRC in 1999 and in the years since has provided assistance to more than 2 million people.

As part of our efforts to contain the current Ebola outbreak, we’re building local response capacity by training health workers, we are currently operating an Ebola Treatment Center (ETC) in Mangina — the initial epicenter of the outbreak — and we built, opened and operated an ETC in Makeke that is now being transitioned to a health facility to serve a community of 80,000. In addition to providing treatment, and contact tracing, we’ve constructed 32 screening and referral units throughout the region, have screened hundreds of thousands for Ebola-like symptoms, and have trained hundreds of healthcare staff in infection prevention and control. Our teams are doing this in extremely difficult and dangerous conditions, surrounded by a constant threat of violence from armed groups in the region.

Nigeria

Why are we concerned?

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with more than 170 million inhabitants. Although it is oil-rich, health indicators are poor and a deepening food crisis in the country’s northeast has created what is now Africa’s largest humanitarian emergency.

Since 2010, the militant group Boko Haram has been waging violent attacks on civilians across Nigeria, creating a deteriorating security situation, with increasing numbers of victims, destruction of social and economic infrastructure, and disruption of education services. As a result, almost 2 million people are internally displaced and nearly 5 million people are facing severe food insecurity.

How are we responding?

We have worked in Nigeria since 2013 and currently have teams in Sokoto, Kano and Borno states delivering programs in health, nutrition, water and sanitation, gender-based violence prevention and response, and food security.

South Sudan

Why are we concerned?

Tensions within South Sudan broke into armed conflict in December 2013, claiming tens of thousands of lives before a fragile peace agreement took hold in the summer of 2015. Hostility continues to simmer, hampering efforts to improve public health standards.

“The cumulative effects of years of conflict, violence and destroyed livelihoods have left more than 7 million people or about two thirds of the population in dire need of some form of humanitarian assistance and protection in 2019.” — United Nations, Global Humanitarian Overview 2019

Adding to the numerous impacts of the conflict, one primary health center is able to serve an average of 50,000 people, and only 40% of nutrition treatment centers have access to safe water — a disparity that puts more people at risk of malnutrition and disease.

Photo by Patrick Meinhardt

How are we responding?

We run comprehensive health facilities that offer higher-level care, including surgery. In Juba, the health facility in the camp includes a 24-hour emergency department as well as intensive care units for adults and children. For the last 15 years, we’ve provided secondary health care for beneficiaries in multiple states in South Sudan.

In response to the high levels of food security in South Sudan, we have expanded nutrition programs in hard-to-reach areas.

Yemen

Why are we concerned?

Yemen’s civil war, now in its fourth year, is driving residents of the Middle East’s poorest country deeper into misery. Already struggling to control communicable disease and chronic malnutrition when the conflict broke out in March 2015, Yemen today has arguably become the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, with more than 10% of its 29 million people displaced, one-quarter of the population living on the brink of famine and an estimated 3.3 million children and nursing mothers acutely malnourished.

How are we responding?

In this challenging environment, International Medical Corps is providing services in areas of Yemen with some of the most pressing humanitarian needs, even though widespread damage to existing infrastructure and the ongoing conflict has restricted access to many areas.

We continue to provide healthcare, nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, as well as training in these areas, to ensure quality services in line with recognized standards and protocols.

Now you know the most pressing crises of 2019. Will you help us help the people affected?

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