12 Aug 2014

DRC - Emergency Relief Operations Launched in Iraq

During the latest escalation of the violence in Northern Iraq the civilian minority population has become a direct target. 200.000 people have been displaced bringing the total to 1.5 million since the violence erupted in December 2013. The Danish Refugee Council is distributing food and water so far reaching 10.000 displaced.

With emergency teams located in Erbil and Duhok, DRC is working in coordination with UN agencies, local communities, government and NGO’s to provide emergency assistance. So far 2000 families (around 10.000 individuals) has been reached in Zummar (Ninewa) and at the Banjet Kandala transit camp, about 50km north of Duhok.

“These families are fleeing as a result of recent attacks by armed groups on the towns of Zhumai and Sinjar, and the targeting of Yazidis and Christian minority groups from Qaraqosh and Mosul. Their situation is extremely serious and we are distributing life-saving emergency relief in the form of food and water,” says Michael Bates DRC Country Director in Iraq.

The newest escalation of violence and waves of displacement is adding to an already existing crisis. Anbar, Ninewa, SalahAdin, Kirkuk, Diyala, Samara and Baghdad have all had their share of sectarian violence in the last six months and even the relatively stable Kurdish region hosting hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis as well as 220.000 Syrian refugees have come under artillery fire.

“With instability and violence escalating and a total of 1.5 million new displaced since December 2013 on top of another more than one million Iraqis already displaced as well as Syrian refugees we are looking at a very complex and serious crisis in an unstable region,” says Michael Bates and continues: “All humanitarian actors are doing everything in their power to ensure that access and resources match the increasing needs but we need to increase the response capacity.”

DRC have been operational in Iraq since 2003. Following the advent of military operations, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) was one of the first organizations to provide humanitarian assistance; opening an office in Diyala and soon after in Basra. The organization is currently present in Central Iraq as well as the Northern Kurdish region.
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