IHP response to the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe
By IHP, Sep 22 2015 02:52PM
At IHP, we have watched the news reports of refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East with great concern and compassion for the people involved. Many of them have endured tremendous hardship in refugee camps for many months or years before setting out on the dangerous journey into Europe.
IHP continues to hold regular conversations with our distributing partners about their need for medicines. At present, we believe that we can be most effective by increasing our support to programmes operating in the countries from which the majority of the refugees begin their journey. The Integral Alliance, of which IHP is a member, note that programmes in these ‘countries of origin’ are chronically underfunded . This significantly increases the incentive for displaced people to make the unsafe and costly journey into Europe.
IHP has excellent working relationships with organisations working in Lebanon and Jordan, hosts to the largest refugee camps. The work done by these organisations is limiting the number of people attempting the journey to Europe and maintaining the possibility of their return home should the current conflicts abate.
Noting the chronically under-funded nature of these programmes, IHP seeks donations of both product and funds. If we can cover the costs of facilitating the shipments of product, we can reach these needy communities much more rapidly. This will help many more families to make the choice to stay where they are, rather than risking their lives, and those of their children, on poorly maintained vessels in the Mediterranean.
Currently, IHP is not intending to respond directly in support of those refugees who have already arrived in Europe. Although numerous, this group is spread across a large geographical area spanning multiple political administrations (many of whom have failed to agree a coherent response strategy). We believe that the medical needs of this group can be met more effectively by the army of local support groups already working with the refugees in their areas. We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation carefully, including keeping a watching brief on any significant needs for consumer hygiene goods, and adjust our approach as necessary.