IOM Helps New Influx of Syrians and Displaced Iraqis fleeing Syria into Central Iraq
IOM Iraq has distributed emergency relief items to 100 newly-arrived Syrian families seeking shelter in unfurnished primary schools near the Al Qaim border crossing in the Iraqi governorate of Anbar.
IOM provided the new arrivals with mattresses, pillows, blankets, fans, cool boxes, jerry cans, soap, plastic cabinets, plastic mats, rechargeable lights, and cleaning powder. It also distributed cooking stoves and gas cylinders for families to share.
Since the opening of Central Iraq's borders to Syrian refugees on 24 July, over 2,800 people have crossed the border into Central Iraq. With an additional 8,500 Syrians seeking refuge in the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan, the total number of Syrians living in Iraq now totals over 11,000.
Along with the recent surge of Syrians, another 18,500 displaced Iraqis have returned to Central Iraq in recent weeks. Most were previously long term residents of Aleppo, Syria's largest city, and surrounding areas. The city is currently the scene of fierce fighting between government and rebel forces.
Among their reasons for leaving Syria, returnees cited random killings and robberies; a lack of food, water and medical assistance; difficulty moving around the city; and fear of the conflict becoming worse.
Iraqi and Syrian returnees told IOM that the cost of a ticket to the border from Aleppo is high. A bus ticket costs about US$100 per person, while a private taxi costs about US$300.
Officials in Ninewa and Anbar governorates have written to IOM asking for help in caring for the growing number of returnees.
Current makeshift housing for the new arrivals in both governorates usually lacks adequate electricity and water. It can also be unbearably hot with temperatures now at over 40 degrees.
To date, IOM has distributed essential non food relief items to over 3,000 Syrians throughout Iraq.
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