Iraqi Red Crescent Society increases support for thousands fleeing Anbar

By Soraya Dali-Balta, IFRC

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society has announced that the number of people who have fled Iraq’s western province of Anbar in the past few days has hit 100,000 as the fighting continued to intensify in several regions in the governorate.

“More than 100,000 people have fled Anbar in the last few days, and the largest wave of displacement was from the city of Ramadi and other neighbouring towns,” said Mr Mohammed Khuzai, the Assistant Secretary General at the Iraqi Red Crescent Society.

Mr Khuzai noted that the majority of displaced families headed to the capital Baghdad and other Iraqi governorates by crossing the Bzaiziz Bridge amid the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Anbar. Many displaced families resorted to mosques, schools and other public sites for shelter, with the help of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society. Meanwhile, the Iraqi National Society has been in contact with several governmental bodies to coordinate on erecting tents in the city of Abu Ghraib to host families fleeing conflict zones in Anbar, revealed Mr Khuzai.

In light of these recent developments, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society has been distributing relief items to the internally displaced persons and was able to reach more than 40,000 people in the past few days, despite challenges faced by relief teams, notably the deteriorating security situation and the continuously increasing number of displaced people.

Since January 2014, about 2.7 million people in Iraq have left their homes and sought refuge in relatively safer areas in the country. The Iraqi Red Crescent Society has been on the frontlines of humanitarian activities in many areas of Iraq for the past few years, providing rescue and relief items to displaced Iraqis and to hundreds of Syrian refugees who fled their war-torn nation and headed to neighbouring countries in the region.