Red Crescent teams responding in Fallujah appeal for action to prevent civilian suffering

Published: 31 May 2016 11:53 CET

Reporting by Mohammed Khuzai, IRCS

Throughout the past week, heavy clashes have rocked the already unstable Iraqi city of Fallujah and its surrounding regions, putting the lives of tens of thousands of people at risk, and dramatically increasing the need for urgent humanitarian assistance. In light of these developments, Iraqi Red Crescent Society has appealed to all parties to the conflict to save civilians’ lives and ensure their safety, to avoid any further humanitarian suffering in the country.

In the last three days, more than 700 families have resorted to the safe passages secured by Iraqi security forces to leave their towns and take refuge in calmer regions. Abu Assaad, who was among the hundreds of people who fled Fallujah and nearby villages in recent days spoke of the hardship they had to endure before they reached

“The humanitarian situation in the city was horrendous. Thank God we were able to leave our village and come to this safe place,” said Abu Assaad, pointing to “Camp Iraq”, which was recently established in Amiriyah Fallujah, about 30 kilometres from Fallujah city,  to host displaced families.

In response to the rising humanitarian needs, the Iraqi National Society has set up two centres to provide support to displaced families from Fallujah and neighbouring areas and respond to their urgent needs. Red Crescent teams on the ground have reported that so far, there are no serious injuries among civilians.

Red Crescent volunteer and head of relief teams in Amiriyah Fallujah Mr Mohannad Hamid said: “Iraqi Red Crescent Society teams received 700 displaced families from conflict-stricken regions and helped them through the provision of relief aid, hot meals and other nutrients.”

“Five hundred of these families were resettled in ‘Camp Iraq’, while the remainder took refuge in homes of their relatives in other neighbouring regions.”

Tens of thousands of people remain in Fallujah, and as clashes continue to intensify, Iraqi Red Crescent Society expects the number of internally displaced people from the city and surrounding regions to increase. The Red Crescent is preparing for an intensive response by calling up additional teams of volunteers and staff, and preparing relief items that will be needed.

Mr Ahmed Kazem, the head of operations at the National Society said: “The humanitarian challenges we face will keep increasing while the rise of the number of displaced people rises. We are mobilizing resources to respond to this situation and we have so far prepared additional relief aid to meet the needs of 2,500 families.”

Supported by its Movement and non-Movement partners, Iraqi Red Crescent Society continues to be at the forefront of the humanitarian response in the country. The Red Crescent has been providing crucial food and non-food relief items, health and medical services, and has been also involved in sheltering those who were forced to leave their homes and villages amid the worsening security situation across Iraq.