Wednesday, 07 June 2017 12:46

UNHCR Iraq opens new camp for displaced families who continue to flee fighting in Mosul and other areas

Erbil, Iraq, 7 June 2017 - UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has opened another camp in response to a continued surge in the number of newly-displaced Iraqis fleeing the military offensive in western Mosul and in other areas of conflict.

Al Salamiyah 2, south of Mosul, began to receive its first families today. 2,500 tents have so far been pitched, but more tents will be installed in the coming days and the camp will have total capacity for nearly 5,000 families (around 30,000 individuals).

"We fled before the military operations but other families were forced to move by armed groups to Syria. We're glad to be here now, to get some shelter and help,” said 28 year-old Khaled who is a father of four who is originally from al-Ba’aj area. "There was not much food and we all got sick and exhausted. My wife can't breastfeed our youngest: she has no milk. We could only eat once a day, often just rice,” he added

“We pushed for the early opening of the camp in response to the massive outflow of civilians from both Mosul and other areas of conflict, west of Mosul, close to the Syrian border,” said Hovig Etyemezian, UNHCR’s head of Mosul office.

"Newly-displaced civilians report dire conditions in conflict areas, with severe shortages of basic necessities," he added. "Many have lost family members and there has also been a big increase in the number of people who have been injured."

The new camp will be managed by UNHCR’s partner, ACTED, which is also managing the nearby Al Salamiyah 1 camp. Al Salamiyah 1, built in part by the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MoMD) in Ninewa Governate, was handed over to UNHCR and its partners, for upgrading work. It opened just two weeks ago with capacity for up to 10,000 people and is now full.

Another family that arrived today is Fadhila’s family of her husband, seven daughters and grandchildren who were originally from Sinjar, but changed their location several times fearing clashes and shelling: “We are happy to be here, to have a safe place to stay. We have moved so many times.” Said Fadhila.

"Now we are free and the shelling is over. My daughter is seriously sick. She has diabetes and the insulin needs to be kept in cold water. It was very hard to make sure we could give her the treatment. We could barely eat; my husband was a laborer but couldn't find work and we had no income,” she added.

“The new camp provides families fleeing conflict with protection and shelter. Families will also receive basic emergency household items, food, water and medical services", said UNHCR's Hovig Etyemezian.

According to the latest government figures, more than 807,000 people in total have been displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since October, when the military offensive began, including 633,573 individuals displaced from western Mosul since mid-February. More than 177,000 people are estimated to have since returned to their areas of origin.

UNHCR has built 12 other camps in order to respond to the large-scale displacement from Mosul and surrounding areas. However, the agency urgently needs USD 126 million to meet the critical needs of vulnerable families fleeing from conflict areas, as well as those returning to areas of Mosul that are now safe, until the end of the year.

Caroline Gluck, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +964 780 920 7286
Andreas Needham, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +964 780 920 7282
Saif al-Tatooz, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +964 780 195 8468
Amira Abd el Khalek, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +964 772 616 3729

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNHCR

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