Direct Relief International is preparing emergency shipments of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals valued at nearly $1 million to three in-country partners in response to the recent flooding in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. The flooding in the Horn of Africa has killed more than 150 people and continues to affect over 1.8 million others.
The flooding has exacerbated an already serious humanitarian situation caused by civil strife and severe poverty. Stagnant floodwaters have increased the prevalence of water-borne and insect-transmitted diseases in the affected countries. UNICEF reports that malaria and diarrhea cases are on the rise in the three countries, and two cases of cholera have already been documented by Médecins Sans Frontières in southern Somalia.
In Kenya, Direct Relief is partnering with the OGRA Foundation to support their primary care and health education work in two clinics in the Kisumu and Nyando Districts. The clinics have been assisting those displaced by the floods.
J. Owuor Jenna, Senior Clinical Officer for OGRA, described the clinics working conditions as dire. “We have had 35 deaths so far at the clinic in the last four weeks. People are dying from cholera and typhoid and amoeba. We have run out of all essential drugs and there is no way out.”
Dr. Mike Marks, Direct Relief‘s Regional Medical Advisor for Africa, will be arriving in Kenya next week to assess the situation and medical needs of the OGRA Foundation and other in-country medical providers.
Somalia has been hardest hit by the floods, and Direct Relief has been working on response in the country with the Hargeisa Group Hospital , the national medical center based in Hargeisa and Direct Relief partner since 1992. Direct Relief’s latest provision of aid will backfill and bolster an earlier shipment of essential medicines sent this July that have already been expended due to the disaster.
In Ethiopia , Direct Relief is working with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and the Orphans of AIDS Foundation to distribute specifically requested medical goods, including antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Under the arrangement, the Orphans of AIDS Foundation will distribute the shipment’s contents to eight clinics the organization has adopted from the Ministry.
In the last year, Direct Relief has assisted its eight partners in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia with $5.9 million in medical material aid.