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27 May 2015

DRC - Pressing Needs For 54,000 Displaced From Ramadi Region

Close to 54,000 people from the western Iraq province of Anbar where the Islamic State militants have captured the provincial capital, Ramadi, last week, remain vulnerable and need food, water and shelter, the Danish Refugee Council, who are working hard to get to the displaced, said today.

With thousands Iraqi civilians fleeing from the region over the past two weeks, according to OCHA, 54,000 Iraqi civilians remain trapped at the entry points east of the Anbar governorate near Ramadi with little provisions of shelter, food or water in searing 45 degree Celsius degree heat, DRC said.

While DRC and other aid agencies have begun distributing food, water and hygiene kits, DRC has expressed concern that most people are not being allowed to enter safer governorates and seek protection and warned of a further influx of displaced people as fighting continued.

“Working with local authorities and partners, DRC has focussed its relief efforts on a key access point to Baghdad governorate in east Anbar, where over 12,000 men, women and children had been trapped without assistance. We have also provided food, hygiene and water kits to 6,000 people at Bzebiz Bridge in Anbar governorate,” said Regis Vanrechem, DRC Iraq Emergency Coordinator.

Ramadi fell to the militants at the weekend, 17-19 May, and those fleeing were thought to be escaping from Islamic State for a second time, having been among 130,000 who fled from Ramadi also in April. “Nothing is more important right now than helping these people. They are in real trouble and very vulnerable being out in the open,” said Vanrechem.

All together more than 2.5 million Iraqis have been displaced due to sectarian fighting the last year, according to IOM figures. Since 2003, DRC has been active in Iraq with operations presently in the governorates of Erbil, Duhok, Baghdad, Kerbala, Anbar, Najaf and Diyalla.
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