Iraq: A worsening humanitarian crisis [PHOTO]

20 July, 2016
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The humanitarian crisis in Iraq is one of the largest, most complex and volatile in the world. Over 10 million Iraqis – nearly a third of the population – require some form of humanitarian assistance. During the next six months, massive waves of new displacement are expected across Iraq. As many as 2.5 million people may become newly displaced along the Anbar and Mosul corridors and in Mosul city.

The funding required for Mosul will depend on the scope, type and length of the military campaign. Humanitarian partners, working closely with governmental counterparts, have developed a range of scenarios from limited destruction and limited displacement for a limited period to massive destruction and massive displacement for a long period. In a worst case, nearly US$1.8 billion may be required.

The humanitarian community issued today a Flash Appeal for US$284 million to prepare for the humanitarian fallout of military operations. The appeal is also being presented by Ms. Lise Grande, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, at a pledging event for donors in Washington DC.

The lead-time for Mosul preparation is significant. Partners require US$284 million at least 2.5 months before the operation starts; if funding comes on stream only after the operation starts, partners will be unable to respond appropriately. So much is being invested in the military campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It is increasingly urgent to rebalance the investments being made in Iraq to ensure that more help is provided to the Iraqi civilians who have been caught in the conflict and who have lost everything.


More than 85,000 people fled Fallujah in May and June, joining the 3.3 million Iraqis currently displaced to 3,800 locations across the country. Many families trekked for days to reach safety. Credit: UNHCR/Anmar Qusay 


People who fled from Fallujah in May and June are living in 66 camps and informal sites in communities surrounding the city. Temperatures are reaching over 120 degrees Fahrenheit/50 degrees Celsius. Conditions in the camps are extremely difficult. Few, if any of the children who have been living under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have been immunized. Partners have vaccinated 18,000 children against polio and more than 15,600 against measles. Credit: WFP/Mohammed Al Bahbahani


Most families who fled Fallujah arrived in Ameriyat al Falluja, a town 30 kilometres to the south, where the Government and the UN had prepared tents and water and sanitation facilities in advance. Within days, these camps had reached full capacity. Families were forced to sleep in the open or find space in overcrowded temporary warehouses. The Government and humanitarian partners have rushed to set up new caps in the two nearby towns of Khalidiyah and Habbaniyah. Credit: OCHA/Themba Linden


The families from Fallujah arrived with nothing. Frontline partners are providing the newly displaced people with shelter, water, food, basic household items and health care. Families are given a cool box, rechargeable fan, towels, plastic mats, a gas cooker, and hygiene, first aid, and sewing kits. Credit: IOM Iraq



In the first 45 days of the crisis, more than one million litres of bottled water were distributed to people fleeing Fallujah. Water treatment units have been installed and water trucks are circulating through the camps daily. More than 1,000 latrines and 400 showers have been set up and most camps now have garbage collection and disposal services. Credit: UNICEF/Wathiq Khuzaie


Every day, over 1,000 displaced people receive primary health care services in mobile and fixed health clinics on average. Many people are suffering from respiratory infections and complications caused by chronic diseases. For the past six months, few, if any families have had access to medical care and medicines. Specialised mobile teams are helping traumatised girls, women, boys and men with psychological counselling. Credit: WHO/Pauline Ajello


Aid workers have been working around the clock, but the gap between what is needed to help the people who fled Fallujah and what the UN and partners are able to do is widening daily. In January 2016, the humanitarian community launched a response plan to assist 7.3 million of the 10 million people in need of assistance. Although at least $US4.5 billion was needed to respond to their needs at international standards, partners asked only a fraction of this, $861 million. Instead of asking for inflated amounts of funding in the hope of receiving a portion of what is needed, partners took a different, more honest path, asking for the minimum required to keep people alive. Credit: IOM Iraq


Seven-year-old Jinan fled her family’s home in the outskirts of Fallujah to Ameriyat al Falluja. She is one of thousands of girls, boys, women and men who risked their lives on the dangerous journey. No one knows when she and her family can go back to their homes. Credit: UNHCR/Caroline Gluck 



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