New displacement forced in northern Iraq
Over the past weekend, the school classrooms primary and secondary Hekma, in the city of Erbil in northern Iraq, seemed dormitories: mattresses They lined along the walls with neatly arranged personal belongings with them.
Some 700 Iraqis displaced Hekma made their temporary home. UNHCR and other aid agencies provided them with emergency aid and the inhabitants of Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, also they came to help.
In the early hours of last Friday, UNHCR and dozens of volunteers worked together to provide 2,500 mattresses and down and 500 boxes of hygiene products such as soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes to this latest wave of internally displaced Iraqis. They had fled the village of Qaraqosh, near the second largest Iraqi city Mosul on Wednesday night. They explained that had exploded fighting between forcespeshmerga Kurdish fighters and anti nearby.
In total, 550 mattresses and quilts were sent to school Hekma. But also it is estimated that 4,000 other IDPs took refuge in other schools, churches, community centers and homes of relatives. Children as young as 10 years helped unload trucks and to carry emergency supplies to the school, where it was distributed among families.
Among them were Behnam, his wife Nadia and her five children, who had fled his home in Qaraqosh night. “It’s too hot here,” he complained Nadia while wiping the sweat from his forehead to his daughter Marianna, 2 years. “We have to share all bathrooms and no showers,” he added.
At least they could sleep on mattresses and quilts for everyone. Another humanitarian organization was responsible for providing hot food in the form of chicken, rice and vegetables on Friday morning. “We want to go home even if there are power outages and water,” said Behnam.
But others had doubts about his return, not only for security reasons but also for the grim future ahead.The police officer told Bassam wearing a month without charge. “Nobody expected this,” he said. “With two boys and a girl, what am I going to do now?”
It is the question that will increasingly become more internally displaced. Since January, the number has exceeded one million throughout Iraq. There was a first flight of half a million people of Anbar governorate in central Iraq, and in the last two weeks, the fighting has forced more than half a million out of Ninewa and other northern provinces.
For some, it was not the first time fleeing the fighting. One mother explained that is Baghdad but moved to Qaraqosh because she felt unsafe at home in the Iraqi capital. The UNHCR protection staff says it is increasing the number of Iraqis who have fled several times.
“It’s a phenomenon that unfortunately we are seeing more and work to know its magnitude,” explained Gemma Woods, UNHCR. “There are families who fled the fighting in central Iraq almost a decade ago, settled elsewhere and now find they have to flee again to be sure,” he added.
At the moment, things seem to improve for the thousands of displaced who left last week Qaraqosh. On Sunday morning, six buses went to school Hekma to bring back home the displaced. Local leaders made them know that they could return to Qaraqosh because the fighting had ended and their homes were intact. In the afternoon, almost all refugees from that town had returned.
Meanwhile, UNHCR received reports of another major shift, in this case from Tikrit (halfway between Mosul and Baghdad), where military and insurgent groups face for two weeks. Visit dripsndrops.net for more info.