(Baghdad, 8 June 2016): The United Nations is deeply concerned by the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Fallujah. More than 20,000 people have fled Fallujah and surrounding areas since 22 May.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms. Lise Grande travelled to Ameriyat al Falluja in eastern Anbar and met with people who have managed to reach safety. “We talked with families who have risked their lives to escape Fallujah. Their stories are heartbreaking. Many have walked for days to reach safety; they have been shot at, people trying to cross the river have drowned and thousands more are still trapped in the centre of the city,” said Ms. Grande.
A massive humanitarian operation is underway to support the people displaced from Fallujah. “Major efforts are being made to help people as soon as they reach the camps established by the Government. Humanitarian agencies are doing their part as well,” said Ms. Grande.
The Rapid Response Mechanism, managed by the UN’s Children’s Fund and the World Food Programme in collaboration the UN’s Population Fund and a consortium of NGOs, has distributed thousands of family kits in Fallujah and Abu Ghraib districts with ready-to-eat food rations, bottled water and hygiene kits. The World Health Organization is operating mobile health clinics and has established primary health care centres in camps. The UN High Commission for Refugees has provided thousands of tents and is rapidly building two new camps to relieve overcrowding. The International Organization for Migration is providing household kits and items and is ready to stand-up additional tents for the families expected to arrive from Fallujah in coming days.
Specialized services are being provided. Children who haven’t been vaccinated for years are receiving life-saving vaccines. Social workers and mobile teams are providing psychosocial support to women and girls, including to the victims of gender and sexual-based violence.
“Humanitarians are working around the clock to provide assistance. We want to do more, and need to do more to ensure families have shade, shelter, health care, food, and water,” said Ms. Grande. “People are telling us that there are tens of thousands of civilians still trapped inside Fallujah. We are terribly worried about their safety and call on all the parties to the conflict to do everything possible to protect civilians.”
The United Nations and partners have requested US$861 million for 2016 to provide emergency relief to 7.3 million vulnerable Iraqis. Only 31 per cent, $265 million has been received so far. Ms. Grande said, “We are using all available resources but we are running out of funds. The international community has invested so much militarily to defeat ISIL. We need to do so much more to help the victims. We cannot let these people down.”
For further information, please contact:
Philippe Kropf, Communications Officer, OCHA Iraq, (email@example.com /+964 (0)751 1352875)
Cecilia Attefors, Humanitarian Affairs Officer, OCHA Iraq, (firstname.lastname@example.org /+964 (0)751 1352880)
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.