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Iraq: Delivering support tent by tent

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NRC team distributing hygiene kits to Syrian families in Bardarash camp. © Alan Ayoubi/NRC

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) continues to respond to the influx of Syrian refugees in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

We are working in the Sahela reception centre near the border and in two camps hosting more than 12,000 Syrian refugees in Bardarash and Gawilan.

On 26 and 27 October, NRC started the distribution of hygiene kits to 300 families in Bardarash camp. Our team visited families tent by tent to deliver the kits and assess their needs.

"These kits will help us to keep our dignity, that's all we have left. We will be able to wash ourselves and it will allow us to keep the baby clean and healthy," says Zubaydah, who fled with her children and grandchildren from Raas Al-ain in north-east Syria.

In the coming days, we will distribute pregnancy and baby kits and set up a safe learning space for children. More than 5,000 people are under the age of 17 and need emergency education assistance.

As harsh winter weather conditions approach, our team will also distribute mattresses and heaters to ensure families can stay warm when temperatures drop close to freezing.

Since 17 October, NRC has delivered close to 30,000 bottles of water at the Sahela border centre and distributed 1,000 packs of baby diapers through our partner Barzani Charity Foundation (BCF). In Gawilan camp, we are planning to provide emergency latrines.

Fleeing to survive

Since the start of military operations in north-east Syria on 9 October, more than 200,000 people were displaced including more than 12,000 refugees seeking shelter in Iraq.

"There were airstrikes and shelling every day on Raas Al-ain. Many people got killed, we had to flee to survive," says Zubaydah.

They crossed the border and found refuge at Bardarash camp, which houses 10,724 people, most of them being women, children and elderly people. The camp is now at full capacity.

Humanitarian organisations expect up to 50,000 may cross in the next six months who would need to be accommodated in camps and provided with water, food, blankets and other essential aid.