Iraq: 12 Miles From the Front Line

Hairan our psychologist, left, at work in Chamisku IDP camp.

Iraq has been blighted by ongoing conflict since the early 2000’s, however the rise of the Islamic State in the northwest of the country in 2014 has caused considerable chaos and loss of life. Since the group gained territory across large swathes of Iraq, more than 3 million people have become internally displaced (IDPs), or have fled to border countries such as Turkey and Jordan as refugees. Almost half of those fleeing have taken refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan, including thousands of ethnic Kurds, Yazidis and Syrians escaping the Syrian civil war. The conflict has significantly weakened the health infrastructure in the country, and over 35% of Iraqi doctors have fled the country.

Children at play in the ruins around Borek village.

In 2014, Doctors of the World launched operations in Iraqi Kurdistan to provide access to healthcare for displaced people fleeing the Islamic State. Our teams work alongside the Iraqi government to provide medical and psychological assistance to refugees and IDP populations, such as those living in Chamisku camp on the border with Turkey.

We we run mobile health clinic projects in the newly liberated areas around Sinjar, such as Borek village and our teams are also active in the southern governorate of Kirkuk, where we operate 4 mobile clinics. In 2016 we expanded our operations in light of the battle to retake Mosul from the Islamic State, which resulted in the forced movement of thousands of people trying to escape the fighting between the Iraqi government and IS. We currently operate in once-small towns such as Kalata Farhahn, 12 miles from Mosul, where many have taken refuge.

A member of staff weighs a child at a malnutrition check up.

Several of the displaced Iraqis fled to Chamisku refugee camp – the largest IDP camp in northern Iraq. For the 26,000 residents of the camp, access to healthcare is extremely limited. Doctors of the World provides primary medical care, sexual and reproductive healthcare, psychosocial support and nutritional screening to identify cases of malnutrition in babies and children.

Many of our staff have fled the violence themselves, often living in the camps alongside their patients.

We provide 250 consultations a day in Chamisku camp, and many of our team are themselves refugees who live in Chamisku. Ghazwa Breassam, a mother of 2 children who fled Mosul with her family, provides consultations. “About one in ten women who come to visit us are pregnant and there are often complications with the pregnancies. Many have undergone tremendous stress due to trauma. Even though they are safe here, it’s difficult to carry a child and give birth in this environment. We provide advice on family planning and a lot of emotional support,” says Ghazwa.

A woman and her child wait for a check up in Chamisku camp.

Many of the people we treat have experienced significant trauma, and as a result require critical psychosocial support to help them cope. Most of our patients have witnessed shocking human rights abuses, such as acts of torture, executions and enslavement. In addition to providing individual counseling, our teams also provide group counseling sessions and psychosocial activities for children affected by the violence. We also conduct trainings for local medical and paramedical staff.

One of our staff plays a game in Kalata Farahn.

One of our psychologists working in Chamisku, Hairan Khalifa, fled with her Yazidi family to escape the Islamic State. Two of her cousins were killed, and the fate of her grandmother is still unknown. She currently lives in two neighboring tents with nine family members: her mother, her four sisters, her brother, his wife and her two nephews. Hairan believes that in her line of work, “The most essential thing is to listen to people. I often see patients three or four times and their story is usually similar to mine. I do not prescribe medication, but I try to give advice to reduce stress. I try to be positive, to say the right thing and to bring some comfort. If their condition worsens, then they see a doctor and sometimes go to the hospital.”

Hairan laughs with the children living in Chamisku camp.

While the fighting in Mosul rages on, it is likely that more people will flee. Hairan tries not to dwell on the fate of her family too much. “I hope one day we can leave this country, we have no future here”. But for now, she concentrates on her work in Chamisku – helping those fleeing the Islamic State to put the horrors of war behind them.

For the latest information on the situation in Iraq follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for updates.

Photography © Olivier Papegnies/Collectif Huma

A Healthy and Dignified Life

“We believe strongly that every woman, by virtue of her humanity, has the right to social equality, economic equality, political equality, and perhaps most importantly to us, an equal right to a healthy and dignified life. The Gag Rule would deny that right to those who need it the most, and we vigorously oppose it.”

A statement by DotW President, Dr. Ron Waldman.

Read more HERE.

Gridlock in Serbia

Upon arrival at the border camps, people are sorted into three lists by the police: families, unaccompanied minors and single men. Many, especially single men, will wait in the camp for months before being summoned by border police to cross the border into Hungary or Croatia. They will then face another month of questioning before they are allowed to continue their journey; they are usually heading for Germany. Those who tire with waiting try to cross the borders illegally – but only a few succeed. Most are intercepted by the police and some are physically assaulted when caught. Despite this, many will attempt to cross illegally multiple times.

Serbia, the small nation-state at the center of the Balkans migration route – traveled by thousands of refugees and migrants since 2015 – served as an important transit point for many on the move. However, in September 2015 the Serbian-Hungarian border was closed, preventing many from reaching countries in northern Europe such as Germany and the UK. Currently an estimated 6,400 men, women and children are stranded in Serbia with little access to medical care or psychosocial support.

Many activists have described a “ping-pong” situation, “where people are being endlessly moved back and forth.” As winter deepens, thousands are being exposed to extreme weather conditions without protective shelter or warm clothes. Our Doctors of the World teams are on the ground in Belgrade, Šid and in camps across the Serbian-Hungarian border, working to ensure refugees receive the medical, psychological and basic care they desperately require.

In the makeshift camp of Horgoš near the city of Subotica on the Hungarian border, nearly 150 refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and sub-Saharan Africa struggle to survive. Many live in hastily constructed tarp tents with little access to sanitation systems. Our team, comprised of a doctor, nurse and translator, provides daily care for the wounded and sick living in the camp.

Nurse Nikolina Gligoric works in our mobile clinic. “I remember the situation this summer,” she describes, “when 700 people lived here. Some didn’t have shelter when it was 104°F. The children got severely sunburned, and to [cool off] they started bathing in a pool of stagnant water and caught skin infections. A 3-year-old Afghan child even drowned. We saw up to 100 people a day.” According to Nikolina, 140 migrants went on a hunger strike last August to demand that the border be reopened. “They went for 7 days without eating or drinking – in vain,” she says.

In Šid, Doctors of the World runs a medical clinic in the busy transit camp known as Grey House. Here, Dr. Milena Milojkovic reviews the medical records of Khadija, a 53-year-old Afghan woman who is recovering from a heart attack. “She has four different problems: poor heart health, high blood pressure, diabetes and an eye whose pupil is overly dilated. Her eye problem was caused by a bomb explosion in Jalalabad on her way home from the hospital.” In Afghanistan, Khadija’s family was threatened by the Taliban because her son worked for the Afghan government. Khadija fled 7 months ago with her 13-year-old daughter. “We crossed Iran and Turkey, but in Bulgaria we were beaten and thrown into prison. It was hard to find the strength to keep going,” she sighs.

Before arriving in Šid, Khadija spent six weeks in Serbia’s capital city, Belgrade. During the summer months, people camp in the parks of the city while they wait to pass through the country. Now that temperatures have dropped as low as 14°F, the parks are empty. Instead, migrants and refugees risk freezing to death as they sleep in car parks and abandoned warehouses for the second winter in a row.

For those who become sick while stranded in Serbia, Doctors of the World runs a health center in Miksaliste – a former cultural institute that has been converted into an aid center for refugees. According to DotW’s Dr. Bojana Bojanic, patients come from the camps near Belgrade or the city’s streets; respiratory or skin diseases are common. However, she says, “…about 20% of [the refugees] return from the border with wounds inflicted by the Hungarian police.” The center currently relies almost entirely on donations and is regularly threatened with closure.

Back at the border, Sabri, a 16-year-old Algerian boy, is preparing to cross into Hungary illegally and for the fourth time. He is a frequent patient at the Grey House clinic in Šid. “The last time I was assaulted by five Hungarian policemen,” he says, “But I am not afraid to do it again. I crossed Macedonia under a truck to get to Serbia. I want to join my brother in Germany and nothing will stop me.” Our nurse at Grey House, Zlatica Krstic, is concerned about Sabri. Hidden under long sleeves, his arms are riddled with cigarette burns. “After I left [Algeria], my 14-year-old brother was arrested and imprisoned. It’s my fault; it’s up to me to watch over my brothers and sisters while my father is at work.” Nurse Krstic worries that Sabri is burning himself to deal with the guilt of leaving his family behind.

Serbia is doing its best to aid the refugees and migrants who pass through, but the sheer size of the refugee population threatens to overwhelm the country’s financial resources and infrastructure capacity especially as neighboring nations have closed their borders. This is why international aid, such as the medical and basic needs care that Doctors of the World provides to refugees across Serbia, is so important. Without access to care or adequate shelter, thousands of people are increasingly susceptible to illness, and many run the risk of freezing to death. With 6,400 registered and more unregistered refugees and migrants currently in Serbia, many are simply hoping that spring arrives early this year.

For the latest information on the refugee and migrant situation in the Balkans follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for updates.

Photography © Kristof Vadino & Todor Gardos

Turkey: Along The Syrian Border

Ayesha and her friends, all of whom fled the war in Syria.

We met little Ayesha and her mother, Um Ayesha, when we visited the UOSSM (Union of Medical Care & Relief Organizations) mental health clinic in Reyhanli, a small Turkish town near the Syrian border. Like most other Syrians in Reyhanli, Ayesha and her family fled to Turkey to escape the brutal war that has raged in Syria since 2012. Ayesha, a shy girl around four or five years of age, is being treated for depression, fear of abandonment, and other PTSD-related symptoms as a result of the conflict. She is not old enough to remember a time without war.

After 5 years of civil war, 400,000 Syrians have died and over 12 million have either fled the country or been internally displaced (often referred to as IDPs, or internally displaced persons). Access to medical care in Syria has been severely disrupted: less than a third of the primary healthcare facilities (PHC’s) in Syria are still functioning, the majority of health professionals have fled the fighting, and hospitals are commonly targeted by drone strikes. Doctors of the World has been working in Syria since 2012, and we currently have 83 active staff in the country who are working tirelessly to fill the gaps in national health services.

The view across the Turkish border of the Syrian town of Atmeh, now a IDP camp with a population of 50,000.

Outside Syria, the war has fuelled one of the most challenging refugee crises the international community has faced since WWII, with border countries such as Turkey bearing the brunt of the mass migration. Millions of families have crossed into Turkey and, while some have moved on to other areas of Turkey and Europe, many reside in small Turkish border towns like the ones we visited – Antakya, Reyhanli and Arac. The populations of these border towns have swelled since the beginning of the crisis: Antakya has grown from 200,000 to 500,000 and the Syrian town of Atmeh, once home to 200 people, has become a semi-permanent IDP camp of 50,000.

In total, Turkey is home to more than 2.8 million registered Syrian refugees – nearly half of which (1.3 million) are children and there are many more refugees who remain unregistered. In addition to our work inside Syria, Doctors of the World partners with organizations at the Turkish-Syrian border and throughout Turkey to provide free medical and mental health care to the refugees.

Our team’s notes on the movement of refugee families.

In Antakya, a Turkish town 70 miles from Aleppo, we have a team of 20 who oversee our operations in the area – including 5 Syrians who are themselves refugees. We support clinics – like the UOSSM mental health clinic that Ayesha attends – and hospitals, like the one where we met Majid, the father of a young boy being treated there. Emel Hospital, a rehabilitation center for those wounded in the war, sees 200 people a day and performs 2600 surgeries annually. When Majid’s youngest son was injured by a bomb, he left his older son and wife behind in Syria to make the dangerous trip to Reyhanli to seek treatment for the boy. The gravity of the situation was clearly visible on Majid’s face and in his words when we met them at Emel.

Our Turkish-Syrian Chief Medical Officer at Emel Hospital.

Yet, Majid’s family’s circumstances are not unusual; our team sees heart-wrenching situations like this every day. And in the small border towns of Antakya, Reyhanli, Arac and others, the situation is unlikely to improve in the near future. On our second day in Antakya – December 15th – the evacuation of roughly 50,000 civilians from the besieged city of eastern Aleppo began. Due to the city’s proximity to the Turkish border, we expect the numbers of refugees desperate to reach the relative safety of Turkey to increase in the coming weeks.

You can help us SUPPORT Syrian refugees by ensuring they have the critical medical care and treatment they need.

For the latest information on the situation in Turkey and Syria follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for updates.

Child Refugees: Kavala Camp, Greece

Since the refugee and migrant crisis began in 2015, thousands of families have fled war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and made the dangerous and often deadly journey to Europe, with the aim of building a better life for their children. In 2016 alone, 28 million children around the world were displaced by insecurity and violence; 3,000 of these children currently reside in refugee camps Greece.

Outside of the city of Kavala in Greece lies Kavala refugee camp, where hundreds of people – including 51 children – currently live. Many of the children in the camp have never attended school, nor have they been allowed access to Greek schools. In light of this, our team – who has been working in the camp since it opened in 2015 – has tried to ensure that the older children (12 and above) are at least involved in part-time educational activities.

Initially, our team coordinated with teachers from the city of Kavala who volunteered their time to teach the children in the camp. Soonafter, we partnered with a local organization called the Mohammed Ali Foundation that provided space and local teachers. The children receive three sessions a week: English on Tuesdays, Greek on Wednesdays, and on Thursdays they practice their new language skills through activities and excursions. Ideally, their new-found language skills will help them in adapting to their new environments.

In addition to providing schooling for the older children, our teams organize activities for the younger children. As DotW psychologist, Eleni Fitou, explains, “Activities for the younger children are very important. They are extremely excited about the chance to go to school, which is not yet possible; but this is an interactive and social learning session. Most of the younger children have never been to school, and this is a vital part of their development.”

In Kavala, we also partnered with Greek author Nikos Kalaitzides, who wrote the book The Journey of Halima. This children’s book draws on Syrian folktales and myths, and recounts the story of Halima, a young girl who travels through a number of unnamed nation-states on her way to Greece. According to DotW Community Mediator, Zoi Xynidou, “This book has been written for children who are refugees, by a Greek author…we wanted to have an event where it could be read.”

Our team in Kavala subsequently organized a reading and performance of the book for the children of the camp. As Zoi recounts, ‘It was a really good activity and this story was something they enjoyed. We also got them involved in painting and making masks of the characters. It helped to give the children an educational activity they can do socially as well.’

Many of the children living in the Kavala camp have experienced endless war, violence and even persecution. While our first priority is to ensure refugee children’s medical needs are met, our teams in Kavala are also trying to bring a sense of normalcy to these often turbulent young lives. Acquiring new language skills is an important first step.

For the latest information on the refugee crisis, or our work in Greece, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for updates.

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Doctors of the World provides refugee and migrant families with critically-needed medical care in 28 locations across Greece. Currently, we are on the ground in Kavala, Thessaloniki, Larissa and Elliniko, and on islands such as Chios and Lesbos, among other places.

#WorldAIDSDay

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In 1987, we opened the first anonymous and free health center for HIV sufferers in France, at a time when the prevalence of the disease was largely unknown. Since then, Doctors of the World has led the fight against HIV/AIDS epidemics around the world.

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Myanmar
In recent years, Myanmar has experienced one of the most severe HIV/AIDS epidemics in south-east Asia. DotW has been operating in the country since 1994, where over 50,000 HIV positive people do not have access to the antiretroviral drugs they need to survive. Our main projects in Myanmar deliver comprehensive HIV/AIDs prevention and care to drug users in Kachin State and sex workers in the Yangon area.

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In the State of Kachin, access to preventive treatment services is difficult due to armed conflict and the discrimination that drug users face. We manage 4 health clinics that provide HIV screenings, preventative treatment and educational workshops. We have also been working with sex workers in Yangon since 2004. Only 28% of sex workers in Myanmar receive screening for the disease, so we run outreach clinics to prevent, detect and treat HIV among this population. Annually, more than 1,000 sex workers receive consultations in our clinics, and many of those receive antiretroviral treatment.

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Tanzania
The AIDS epidemic in Tanzania currently affects 6.5% of the population. The country has recently become an entry point for illegal drugs, such as heroin, from Central Asia. Due to this development, the accessibility and consumption of drugs in the country has increased, which in turn has caused a spike in the transmission of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis through infected syringes.

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There are an estimated 300,000 drug users in the country, many of whom reside in the capital Dar Es Salaam. Around 67% users suffer from AIDS, with 1 in 3 testing positive for HIV or hepatitis. We support 4 reception centers in Dar Es Salaam that receive up to 200 people a day. The centers provide screenings, clean needles, psychosocial support and referrals to health facilities. We also operate out of mobile units to reach more isolated users.

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One of our team members, Ramson, used to be a drug user himself. Born in Dar Es Salaam, in the poor neighbourhood of Temeke, Ramson was 29 when he first tried heroin. “It was a mixture of tobacco and brown heroin from Pakistan,” he describes. “After that I smoked regularly for a decade. In 1999, I started to inject.” For years, Ramson injected heroin several times a day, often sharing his needle with other users. “In 2000, I contracted Tuberculosis twice. After that I agreed to get tested for AIDS.” Ramson found out he was HIV positive in 2005, and with the support of our centers has since been on antiretroviral medications.

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Russia
Russia’s HIV/AIDS epidemic is growing at an alarming rate, and the sex worker community has been particularly impacted. The social stigma attached to this community often prevents sex workers from accessing healthcare of any sort, and increases their vulnerability to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases.

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Our teams launched a project in Moscow in 2015 to improve access to healthcare for these marginalized communities. We conduct nightly outreach programs to meet with sex workers, raise awareness of the risks of disease transmission, and provide preventative supplies such as condoms. Doctors of the World also takes part in developing health policies to advocate for and improve sex workers access to medical care.

For the latest information on our fight against the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for updates.

Photography © William Daniels

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Chad: Providing Support for Mothers and Children

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Chad is a landlocked country in the Sahel region of north Africa that is largely made up of arid and desert landscapes. Although it is the continent’s 5th largest nation in terms of its geographic area, the people of Chad face a variety of health issues. These issues are exacerbated by the fact that many live in rural areas with little to no access to healthcare. Compared to the United States, where the average life expectancy is 79, the average life expectancy in Chad is just 54 years for women and 52 for men.

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In 2015, our Doctors of the World teams provided 1,711 medically supervised births and over 44,170 obstetric consultations for expectant mothers. Some of the leading causes of death for women in Chad are complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Since 2009, Doctors of the World has been working in the Kanem region, where pregnant women and newborns receive very little medical care, especially in rural areas.

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Women often have to walk several hours to reach a health center or to see one of the few doctors in the country. As a result, many women die during childbirth without having received any medical attention. For every 100,000 women, 1,100 die during childbirth and only 4.8% of women use any form of contraception.

chad-story

Lack of access to healthcare is one of the most challenging health issues confronting the people of Chad. Many women and children do not seek medical care or treatment due to the long distances they have to travel. To address this, our teams equipped local communities with horse carts in order to transport patients more quickly and efficiently. Using the carts greatly reduces the time and effort required to reach a center, enabling women and children to seek care more frequently.

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Giving birth in Chad can be extremely risky. Caesarians are rare, and labor can often be obstructed or prolonged due to malnutrition. The difficult labor process can leave women with cases of obstetric fistula that can dramatically impact their wellbeing. These complications can lead to chronic incontinence, which severely impacts women’s personal lives and can result in them being ostracized from the local community.

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In order to reduce the dangerous consequences of prolonged and ill-equipped labors, our team has recruited and trained midwives in addition to refurbishing the birthing rooms inside rural health centers. We also provide women suffering from obstetric fistula with medical care and psychosocial support.

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Since 2015, Doctors of the World has worked with Action Against Hunger on advocacy in the health districts of Mao, Mondo, and in Mao City. We have worked in over 47 health centers and in Mao’s regional hospital, where we raise awareness among young adolescents about health related issues such as maternal health, the prevention of HIV, the transmission risk between mother and child and the importance of vaccinating new-born babies against disease. Throughout the region we also organize family planning activities and information sessions.

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For the latest information on our project in Chad and others around the world, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for updates.

Haiti Update: One Month On

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“Despite the destruction, the ability of Haitians to rise up and organize is immensely impressive. The members of our team who were directly affected by the hurricane were the first to mobilize a response. I am extremely proud of their courage and dedication”. – Dounia Boujahma, MdM France Head of Mission in Haiti.

Just over a month ago Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere where 24% of the population lives in extreme poverty and 60% of the rural population does not have direct access to healthcare. The hurricane killed over 1,000 people, displaced over 141,000 and left 1.4 million in dire need of humanitarian assistance – 40% of whom are children.

Roche à Jabouin, 2 weeks after Hurricane Matthew.

Roche à Jabouin, 2 weeks after Hurricane Matthew.

Access to the most affected areas in Grand-Anse and the South slightly improved in the weeks that followed Hurricane Matthew. However the storm severely damaged the country’s infrastructure such as water and sanitation systems, which increased the spread of diseases like cholera throughout communities. Since the 2010 earthquake, cholera has been a major public health issue for the people of Haiti. After the hurricane there was a spike in cases reported with an estimated 1,500 cholera cases in the southern regions and a total of 3,500 across the country.

The Doctors of the World Network has worked in Haiti, specifically in the South and Grand-Anse, since 1989 on both long-term and emergency programs. We currently have 60 staff members on the ground who are skilled in both medical aid and coordination in an emergency context. Our teams have worked to eradicate cholera in Haiti since 2010, and are active in 7 departments across the country.

A member of staff running one of our health and hygiene sessions to prevent the spread of cholera and other diseases.

A member of staff running one of our health and hygiene sessions to prevent the spread of cholera and other diseases.

Dounia Boujahma, who currently oversees our emergency response in Haiti described the situation on the ground: “Although we prepared extensively for the hurricane, the sheer size and impact of the storm still surprised us. We couldn’t contact our teams for 24 hours. Since Hurricane Matthew we have been coordinating our response with the Haitian authorities in the capital of Port au Prince. Our teams have developed cholera prevention programs and deployed mobile health clinics to provide primary health care in the most affected areas. We have also helped to clear roads blocked by debris and to provide clean water to stop the spread of disease.”

Almost 100% of the crops in Grand-Anse and 90% in the South were destroyed, reducing the country's food resources by 80%.

Almost 100% of the crops in Grand-Anse and 90% in the South were destroyed, reducing the country’s food resources by 80%.

In addition to our emergency response and cholera prevention, our teams are continuing our long-term development programs such as providing access to sexual and reproductive healthcare to women and girl victims of sexual violence. In the wake of the storm, they are especially vulnerable and often lack access to contraceptives and reproductive care. We also continue to provide primary healthcare through our mobile clinics that are each equipped with a doctor, two nurses, IEC technicians and midwives. Our mobile units are reporting any outbreaks of cholera to our emergency response team, who can quickly deploy and treat those affected.

The consequences of Hurricane Matthew have threatened an already fragile public health system in Haiti. Our teams remain committed to fighting cholera and providing primary health care to the communities that need it. For updates on our work in Haiti, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and email.

Photography © Chloé Cébron

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The Demolition of the Calais ‘Jungle’

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On Monday, October 24th, the refugee camp known as “The Jungle” in the port town of Calais, France was dismantled by workers and riot police. Since 2002, the camp has steadily grown in size, with its population swelling in the past two years due to the European refugee and migrant crisis. As of early October 2016, there were approximately 6,000 people – including over 1,000 unaccompanied children – living in the camp. Many were fleeing conflict and violence in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrea, and other countries.

Doctors of the World has steadfastly opposed the demolition of the camp, arguing that thousands of people would be left without a support network and vulnerable to disease and abuse. Our teams have been working in Calais since 2003, providing essential medical care, sexual and reproductive care (SRH) and psychosocial support services. Inside the Jungle we operated a health clinic and our mobile units were present throughout the camp. In addition, our teams often initiated emergency responses – largely as a result of the conditions in the camp – such as providing clean water, sleeping bags and hygiene kits.

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Pippa Hatton of our UK team, speaking to the IBT, sums up the situation, “We were working there long before this camp was established. We have been through demolitions and evacuations, and people ended up living in squalid squats and woodland, often without running water.” Dismantling the camp also does not provide a solution for those desperate to reach relatives in the UK, many of whom would simply relocate to other port towns across France.

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Those most at-risk during and post-demolition are unaccompanied children and minors. While the French government declared the camp “empty” and the local representative for Calais, Fabienne Buccio, called the dismantling a “mission accomplished”, many children were left without anywhere to go and nowhere to sleep. In an article by The Guardian, our spokesperson reports that, “Everything has been destroyed, so we are very worried about the unaccompanied minors. Where they will sleep tonight is a massive concern.”

Despite the protests of Doctors of the World and many other NGOs, the French government transported residents out of the camp by bus. According to government authorities nearly 5,600 people have been moved to reception centers in other areas of France, though it is estimated that at least 100 unaccompanied children remain. Many residents of the French towns receiving refugees and migrants have ardently opposed the relocation plan – prompting fears for the safety and wellbeing of those relocated.

SUPPORT our ongoing work to provide essential medical care to refugees and migrants in Calais and around the world. For updates on the refugee and migrant crisis, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and email.

Photographs © Olivier Papegnies

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Haiti Update: 10 Days Later

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Last Tuesday, October 4th, Hurricane Matthew – a category 4 storm – hit Haiti and left devastation in its path. The hurricane destroyed homes and health centers, blocked roads, isolated communities and killed almost 1,000 people. Nearly 300,000 are currently residing in shelters and the UN estimates that over 1.4 million people are in need of emergency aid. The south and west of the country were worst affected: towns such as Jérémie were almost completely destroyed. Our Doctors of the World (DotW) teams have been working in Haiti since 1989. We were on the ground during the deadly 2010 earthquake and the resulting cholera outbreak that took 9,000 lives, and we’re still there, currently responding to Hurricane Matthew.

What is the impact?

During Hurricane Matthew, the country’s struggling public health system was severely damaged once again. Many towns were left without access to medical care and other critical services and many communities are at risk of contracting and furthering the spread of disease. Haiti is at risk for another deadly cholera outbreak. Many cases have already been confirmed across the island, with 60 reported in the town of Randel near Les Cayes. Due to damaged infrastructure and lack of adequate services, cholera and other epidemic diseases could spread quickly causing hundreds of otherwise preventable deaths. Without treatment, cholera can be fatal – especially for children and the elderly.

What we’re seeing and what we’re doing

Most of the communities we have reached are still in shock and many people have lost homes, businesses and family members. For many communities, the situation is desperate. There has been an increase in food scarcity, leading some to forcibly stop aid convoys in remote areas in order to find something to eat.

After the Port-au-Prince airport reopened, we were able to send in DotW emergency response teams equipped with medical supplies. Most of our work is being conducted via mobile health units. Our teams have been meeting with local families in southern towns such as Jérémie, Les Cayes, Grand-Anse and Léogâne to monitor and prevent cholera outbreaks while distributing hygiene kits and oral rehydration kits. Oral rehydration kits are particularly important in battling the early stages of cholera. We have also established WASH teams (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) to ensure that people have access to clean water.

You can help

By contributing to our Haiti emergency response you will be supporting our mobile health units, which are essential in reaching remote areas that were damaged or destroyed. Through these units we can quickly provide oral rehydration kits and prevent fatalities. Your contributions will also support our long-term efforts to prevent cholera and to rebuild health centers damaged by Hurricane Matthew.

To help those impacted by Hurricane Matthew, and to support our emergency response efforts in Haiti, DONATE TODAY.

For updates on the developing situation in Haiti and elsewhere, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Press Contact:
Françoise Meier
francoise@doctorsoftheworld.org
+1 917 565 2046