Iraq: Red Crescent provides relief to 5,000 families displaced by Shirqat fighting

Publié: 28 juillet 2016 13:01 CET

By Mohammed Khuzai, Iraqi Red Crescent Society

Since early July, heavy fighting in Shirqat city in the Iraqi governorate of Nineveh has led to a great wave of displacement. More than 5,000 families were forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in Tikrit, the administrative centre of Salah Eddine province. Many displaced families stayed in buildings and schools as temporary accommodation, while others stayed at relatives’ houses. A camp was also established to host displaced families between Mosul and Tikrit.

Amid increasing challenges, Iraqi Red Crescent Society was quick to mobilize its staff, volunteers and resources to respond to urgent needs. Since the early hours of displacement, the National Society has formed field teams to provide relief aid and health services to internally displaced people.

President of Iraqi Red Crescent Society, Dr Yaseen Ahmed Abbass, who oversaw relief operations in Tikrit, said: “The volunteers of the Red Crescent are the most capable to respond to crises across the country. They play a significant role in all regions witnessing human suffering.”

“We are keen on carrying on with relief operations on ground, as the first responders in the humanitarian field in Iraq. This requires doubling our efforts in relief operations and in the provision of health services to ease the suffering of families enduring hardship.”

The organization’s teams are responding in two ways to the Shirqat displacement wave. Volunteers are providing clean drinking water, ice blocks and ready-to-eat meals to displaced families in camps. So far, more than 4,500 people have received meals, while 23,000 loaves of bread, 26,000 bottles of water and 655 ice blocks have been distributed.

Also, Red Crescent teams are helping other displaced families find accommodation and are providing them with food baskets. At least 12,000 displaced people have until now received food baskets and 500 children were provided with milk.

Volunteers carrying out relief operations are supported in their missions by Red Crescent psychosocial support teams, first aid teams and awareness teams to advocate about the prevention of communicable diseases among displaced people. Ambulances as well as mobile clinics have also been made available to support Red Crescent volunteers and staff in their missions; to treat injuries and to transport cases that require urgent medical attention to nearby hospitals.

Dr Ali Majid, the head of the health department at the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, said: “A large number of displaced people got injured after walking for hours to reach safe areas, and many of them suffer traumas. They need first aid services and psychosocial support. Many people require some kind of medical treatment as well.”

He added: “More than 10,000 people have so far received psychosocial support, and we will continue to deliver health and medical services to respond to the rising needs.”

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society expects the number of people displaced from Shirqat to increase in the coming months if fighting persists in the city, and along with it the scale of challenges.