Iraqi Red Crescent Society exerting extraordinary efforts to aid IDPs fleeing Anbar

Publié: 5 juin 2015 10:23 CET

By Mohammed Al Khuzai, IRCS

The security situation in Iraq’s Anbar governorate has led to the displacement of a large number of local residents since mid-April. According to an assessment by the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, the total number of internally displaced people (IDP) has hit 133,000 in the past month, among them 40,000 staying in public places, unfinished buildings, schools and mosques at the outskirts of Anbar. 20,000 IDPs are living in camps, while about 72,000 have taken refuge in the capital Baghdad and in other Iraqi governorates.

The assessment reveals that 42,000 IDPs were previously displaced and were forced to flee for the second time after the recent events.

Abu Samer, who fled Ramadi to Amiriyah Fallujah, said: “We were forced to move at the beginning of 2014 to Amiriyah Fallujah as a result of security situation in our city, we stayed for more than two months and then we went back to our house after the security situation improved.”

“But that did not last long as we fled again and now we live in the camp.”

In the past days, huge numbers of displaced families from the city of Ramadi crossed the Bzaiziz bridge which links Anbar with Baghdad. Hundreds of these families were forced to stay in the desert for more than four days before they were allowed to enter Baghdad. This has resulted in the aggravation of the humanitarian situation among the displaced.

Mr Ahmed Abdel Rahman, the Director of Disaster Management in the Iraqi Red Crescent Society said the organisation’s volunteers are making a special effort to contain the humanitarian crisis. He mentioned that the immediate needs to aid the IDPs include shelter, food, water and health services. In the past days, the Iraqi National Society’s teams were able to cover some of the urgent needs of more than 10,000 families by distributing 15,000 meals, approximately 5,000 food parcels as well as providing about 82,000 bottles of water.

“Despite our support to displaced people, more than 25,000 families still need assistance,” said Mr Abdel Rahman.

Ahmed Khalaf, a displaced person living in a school in Amiriyah Fallujah, said: “We depend mainly on the assistance that is provided by the organisation because we have no other source to get food, water and other basic requirements.”

Moreover, the opportunities to get medical treatment is very limited due to the increase in health problems, especially chronic diseases. To address these needs, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society formed health teams who are providing services in camps, public places, as well as along the roads crossed by displaced people.

“The National Society’s volunteers, who are trained to implement health awareness campaigns, provide First Aid services and psycho-social support, were mobilised to help the IDPs,” said  Dr Ali Majid, the Director of the Health Department of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society.

“In the first  five  days of the crisis, we helped 19,469 IDPs and we mobilised a number of ambulances to transport people who might have suffered fatigue on the roads because of the high temperatures.”

Since the beginning of 2014, the Anbar governorate has been witnessing a deterioration of the security situation which led to a deterioration of the humanitarian situation. The number of displaced people since 2014 has hit 500,000, most of them are still in need of help.