More than 3,000 internally displaced persons have received core relief items, distributed by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) in the city of Ramadi, in Anbar Governorate where fighting have caused massive displacement since December last year. “Amidst the enduring humanitarian needs and the difficulty for aid organizations to access Anbar Governorate, the DRC has been able to commence activities reaching the displaced population in Ramadi with relief assistance,” says Zinnah Kamah, DRC’s Head of Programs.
The 600 household kits of core relief items provided by DRC contains hygiene kits, non-food and food parcels and are sufficient to last a family of five for one month. Community volunteers and the local authorities assisted in facilitating the distribution exercise, which took place on 17 – 19 September, 2014 under the supervision of DRC staff, who was sent from Baghdad.
“Why has everyone forgotten us? Many of us do not have access to health services, but today, we are happy for the food and hygiene kits we have received. This will help to keep us going,” says a 47-year old widow, who heads a household of nine.
Local authorities in Anbar report that 85% of the population has been displaced either once or twice due to continuing violence. In the hosting communities that DRC visited in Ramadi, large numbers of IDP families are sheltering in poor sanitary conditions in schools and abandoned structures.
IOM estimated in August that 343,290 individuals are still displaced within Anbar. The official figure released by the Government of Iraq three months ago places the number of IDPs in Anbar at 426,000 individuals. These numbers vary widely. Given the fluid nature of the security situation, it is difficult to verify numbers or register people that are frequently on the move.
With the generous support of the Danish Government (DANIDA) and EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), DRC is able to intervene in Anbar and continue activities. The funding, also, is enabling DRC’s protection monitoring activities in Baghdad, which has seen more than 1,390 individuals documented and 362 of those with special protection needs have received cash assistance since the beginning of March, 2014.
DRC has been present in the Middle East since late 2003 and was one of the first international humanitarian organizations able to provide assistance following the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Over the years the program has developed in both geographical spread and the types of assistance provided following the multiple conflict-induced displacement in the region.