Iraq: Humanitarian Needs Greater Than Ever As Temperatures Rise

 Climate ChangeEmergency Response,
 19th Jun 2017

Emergency relief for hundreds of thousands displaced persons is urgently needed as temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius are expected in summer

Dohuk, Kurdistan Region of Iraq. As summer commences in many parts of this world, aid organization CARE International warns that people currently displaced from Mosul and other areas in northern Iraq are exposed to extreme temperatures and their need for humanitarian support will increase. As the temperatures rise up to 50 degrees, the situation for people who are already suffering from hunger, thirst, displacement and violence will be exacerbated.

Seven months into the military operations to retake Mosul city, humanitarian needs remain significant, especially among displaced families, both in and out of camps, and among vulnerable residents of newly accessible areas. Particularly pregnant and lactating women and their children are affected by the extreme temperatures, factors that endanger their health and well-being. Mothers and their babies have nutritional and medical needs that require special attention.

As the numbers of the displaced people continue to rise, significant shortages persist. Prolonged battles and a highly unstable security situation mean that returning home remains unlikely for almost all families in northern Iraq. According to the United Nations, only 31 percent of the necessary aid funds for 2017 have been secured. Guaranteeing that people can access safe drinking water is a priority humanitarian concern across Mosul city and in the camps. The reestablishment of a functioning city-wide water network is crucial, as limited access to safe water damaged sanitary infrastructure and poor environmental conditions, pose high risks for disease outbreaks. 

According to CARE’s Head of Programs in Iraq, Jacqui Symonds: "CARE’s target is to meet the needs of 250,000 people in need; this is approximately eight percent of the estimated 4.2 million people currently displaced across Iraq. The existing funding gap, combined with the increasing numbers of those in need of humanitarian assistance, means that at present aid funds fall totally short. However, we cannot stop now. Displaced people, especially children, pregnant and lactating women, need our support.”

Tents in camps offer insufficient protection against the heat and scorching summer sun. “We provide concrete slabs for tents to offer more protection and water, sanitation and health assistance to those who need it most. But as international attention to the continued suffering in northern Iraq has declined, donations to support these activities are correspondingly low,” reports Symonds. 

CARE, together with its local partners, plays a crucial role in three camps in northern Iraq by organizing the supply of clean water for displaced people and host communities. CARE has also improved access to sanitation facilities, including training on repairing and maintaining these. Latrines, showers and washing facilities are kept clean, septic tanks are maintained and waste is collected, hygiene promotion activities sessions, cholera-prevention campaign undertaken.

CARE’s existing work in northern Iraq also includes the provision of nutrition supplements for pregnant women and their new-borns and children and supports primary health centers, which will bolster the capacity of clinics to treat and support pregnant women from Mosul and other areas. 

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