NRC is distributing emergency food rations, hygiene kits and water to people who have fled the recent fighting in Ramadi in Iraq.
Clashes between government forces and armed opposition groups in Ramadi in the Anbar province have forced about 114,000 people to flee their homes over the past two weeks, according to the UN. Many of the displaced have been heading towards Baghdad, where they are now taking shelter in mosques, with host families, in camps and unfinished buildings.
“The conditions for the displaced are harsh. Many lack food and water and between four to six families are often taking shelter together in unfinished buildings, leaving them with very little space and privacy. They are in acute need of support”, said Salah Noori, NRC’s Head of Programmes in Baghdad. NRC has during the last days distributed emergency food rations, hygiene kits and water to more than 6500 people in Baghdad and surrounding areas, in cooperation with UNICEF and the World Food Program (WFP).
The displaced are telling stories about immense suffering inside Anbar province and a tough journey to safety. Ameena and her five children left all assets behind, and travelled for days before they reached Baghdad. The family is now taking shelter in a mosque. "We do not have relatives or friends in Baghdad and our financial resources is about to deplete" Ameena said.
More than 2,000 of the newly displaced families still remain inside Anbar Province. “Many people face difficulties with entering the neighbouring provinces and have been unable to flee to safety”, said Noori.
“Several of the displaced people we have been speaking with in Baghdad are telling us that they are very concerned about the well-being of their family members who remain in Anbar”, he added.
Aid to Anbar
NRC is working closely with local partners to be able to deliver assistance to civilians inside the conflict-ridden province west in Iraq. “Many people in Anbar are currently receiving no or only sporadic assistance. The security situation makes it challenging to deliver the necessary life-saving support, but this needs to be our top priority”, said Noori. The fresh wave of displacement raises the number of people displaced within Iraq since the beginning of 2014 to 2.7 million.