More aid needed for massive influx from Fallujah

More than 83,000 people have fled Fallujah and its surrounding areas the last month, overstraining humanitarian actors as the number of displaced from the area doubled in the last 30 days, according to the Danish Refugee Council (DRC).


Due to heavy fighting, more than 80,000 have been forced to flee their homes in Fallujah in the Anbar province in central Iraq. Prior to the latest wave, more than 75,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from other locations within Anbar were already residing in the six camps near Fallujah. The Danish Refugee Council has been on ground preparing for the influx, but due to the high numbers, it has been impossible for the aid agencies present to keep up with the massive needs.

"We have managed to reach around 1,300 families with water and essential Non Food items needed to survive these harsh conditions, but a lot more is required," says Stef Deutekom, DRC's acting Country Director in Iraq.

"Priority was given to the most recently arrived families, who were pre-dominantly female-headed households. However, we need to significantly scale up our operations and need additional funding to be able to assist to this number of IDPs".

Families are arriving by the minute to overcrowded camps. Camps lack shaded areas where families can escape from the extreme summer heat, currently averaging 45 degrees Celsius. Children, women and men are forced to sleep out in the open because there are not enough tents.

“Despite their best efforts, aid agencies have been unable to meet the needs of people fleeing Fallujah,” according to Stef Deutekom.

Water and food supplies are significantly below humanitarian standards. “People arriving in the camps are traumatised and in desperate need of the most basic items: food, water and shelter," Stef Deutekom added.

DRC is on the ground in Anbar and has scaled up its response to the crisis. DRC has installed water infrastructure in Habaniya Tourist City to serve 3,000 people and is delivering water to camps. DRC has also provided hygiene items and cooking sets to displaced families there.

In Ameriyat al Fallujah, DRC operates child friendly spaces with recreational activities for children and will soon set up mobile safe spaces, providing psycho-social support and legal assistance to displaced people.

DRC has distributed 1000 hygiene kits, 2000 water sets, 283 kitchen sets and 223 kerosene stoves, but much "more is needed to respond to  the acute humanitarian needs of the displaced populations here," Stef Deutekom said.

There are more than 3 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Iraq together with 250,000 Syrian refugees. DRC has been operational in  Iraq since 2003 and is committed to responding to the needs of IDPs refugees using a multi-sectorial approach throughout its emergency response and humanitarian programming. DRC works both in central Iraq out of Baghdad and in Anbar province - but also have a heavy presence in the Kurdish Region of Iraq