Press release

Life-saving health care for refugees

World Refugee Day

23 May 2016

Paola Barioli

Media Relations Officer

As the world celebrates and remembers the 60 million refugees and forcibly displaced people who have had to flee their homes and land in order to survive, Medair wants to give a voice to the people fighting every day to survive under the threat of violence and conflict.

As more and more refugees die trying to escape their country, en route to what should be safer havens, Medair is strengthened in its belief that help needs to reach them before they have no other choice than putting their lives in jeopardy.

In Jordan and Lebanon, where Medair provides shelter, health services, and cash assistance to about 150,000 Syrian refugees, the story is too often the same:  “I have to send my daughters to collect garbage so I can sell it in order to survive,” said Khalil a former wealthy farm owner in Syria. Moreover, if agencies like Medair weren’t actively providing health services to refugees, Khalil and so many others would have no other option than to try to make it to Europe.

The story of Nyamer, a young mother of four in South Sudan, is not that different. An internally displaced person, forced to relocate within her own country, she tells us: “I came here with my four children in June 2015. But my husband is not here. We fled to the UN’s Protection of Civilians camp because of the fighting and the hunger. Our village was destroyed. Six people of my close family were killed. There was nothing to eat. Here, we are provided with food, and when my children have malaria, they are treated.” Medair offers health services to 44,000 displaced South Sudanese who would most likely die otherwise.

This week, Medair is launching an emergency health response in Aweil North, a region of South Sudan with astonishingly high levels of malnutrition and lacking access to basic health services. Mobile health teams walk from household to household to find and treat sick people. The free healthcare that will be dispensed will help alleviate the hardships displaced people face every day.

According to UNHCR, there has never been that many displaced people in the world. “Globally, one in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. If this were the population of a country, it would be the world’s 24th biggest”, says the latest report. The position held by Italy today.

So today, in honour of Khalil, Nyamer and the millions of people whose only crime was to live at the wrong place at the wrong time, Medair reiterates its determination to continue its work however long it can.

Medair helps vulnerable people survive crises, recover with dignity, and develop the skills they need to build a better future.

Media enquiries should be directed to:  Paola Barioli, Press Relations Officer, +41(0)78 635 30 95
For regular updates, please check or our twitter feeds @MedairInt, @MedairPress

Medair is an international humanitarian NGO that provides emergency relief and recovery services to families made vulnerable by natural disasters, conflicts, and other crises. For more information about Medair, click here.  This release was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation. 

Photo caption: Nyahok, one of Nyamer’s daughters, being treated for malaria at Medair’s clinic in the UN’s Internally Displaced People camp in Bentiu, South Sudan