Refugee crisis in the Middle East
Now on its eighth year, the Syrian war continues to inflict incomprehensible levels of suffering on civilians and fuel the largest displacement crisis in the world today. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed. More than six million Syrians are displaced inside the country, while another five million have fled to the relative safety of other countries.
International Medical Corps works in Syria and in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq—the four countries shouldering the highest number of Syrian refugees—to provide medical care, mental health and psychosocial support, gender-based violence prevention and response, and other vital services to Syrian families whose lives have been shattered by conflict.
We support existing health centres, manage clinics and hospitals in camps, and operate mobile medical clinics to reach refugees and internally displaced Syrians who do not otherwise have access to local health care. Our health care support for Syrians living in Syria and neighbouring countries includes preventative and curative health services as well as more specialised services such as maternal and reproductive health care, in-patient care, surgical care, dentistry and ophthalmology.
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support
Syrians have been exposed to extreme levels of violence and suffering. To ensure families’ emotional and psychological needs are supported, International Medical Corps integrates mental health care into health care facilities in refugee camps and urban areas when possible. We also train general health care and other service providers—many of them Syrians—in mental health care and psychological first aid so that basic emotional and psychological needs can be addressed and referrals for higher-level care can be made as needed.
International Medical Corps establishes safe spaces for women and girls as well as children and youth in refugee camps, giving vulnerable groups places to connect as well as access services. We also work to prevent gender-based violence through community outreach and education and respond to existing cases with medical care, counselling and other support.
We also train Syrians in neighbouring countries to become community health workers, who then help their peers stay healthy through education emphasising health promotion, disease prevention and appropriate health-seeking behaviours and connecting them to our medical facilities. We also distribute personal hygiene materials and other items that help Syrian families stay clean and healthy.
Emergency relief items
International Medical Corps regularly distributes relief supplies to Syrian families in need. This includes medical aids for people suffering from physical disabilities such as wheelchairs, walkers, air mattresses and toilet chairs as well as hygiene items such as soap, shampoo and diapers. We also provide medicines and medical supplies to hospitals and clinics inside Syria and in neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees.
Social counselling, legal referrals and vocational training
International Medical Corps, together with a local Turkish partner, offers a variety of social services to refugees and asylum seekers through multi-service centres in Turkey. In these centres, refugees can receive health screenings, access legal and social assistance, and participate in skills-building courses such as language classes. The goal is to help Syrian refugees better access important services of daily life in Turkey. We are working to open similar centres in Iraq.