OCHA Flash Update: Iraq Crisis - Significant Displacement from Sinjar, No. 2 | 4 August 2014

  1. On 3 August the City of Sinjar was occupied by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after armed clashes between ISIS fighters and Peshmerga. The City of Zummar is currently being contested by armed groups of ISIS and the Peshmerga. Both incidents have caused significant new displacements over the last 48 hours. [Sinjar is a city in Iraq's Ninewa Governorate near the Syrian border. The estimated population of the district in 2014 was 308,315. The district is mainly inhabited by Yezidis, a religious and ethnic minority, with Shiite Arab and Christian minorities.]

  2. There are reports of significant displacement from Sinjar City and surrounding areas to Jebel Sinjar (Sinjar Mountain) and areas predominantly to the west and north of Sinjar, with some displacement to the east as well. The exact number of displaced people on Jebel Sinjar is unknown; however reports indicate that some 35-50,000 people displaced in nine locations, reportedly surrounded by ISIS armed elements. There are reports, to be verified, of children already dying for lack of water and other assistance among those trapped in Jebel Sinjar.

  3. It is likely that displaced people on Jebel Sinjar are surrounded by ISIS force. Based on a number of reports from the displaced population, there is an immediate need for water, food, fuel, shelter and health services. ISIS controls the two roads down the mountain; one in the direction of Sinjar City and one in the direction of Rabya (the border crossing with Syria). Families moving down the mountain are reportedly being attacked by ISIS forces. Although not independently verified by the UN, this information is assessed as fairly reliable and probably true.

  4. Sinjar hospital staff, including the director, has fled. Conflicting reports indicate that the hospital may be managed by ISIS.

  5. Displaced families who have made their way to Dahuk Governorate over the last 24 hours amount to over 30,000 people, mostly women and children, in eight locations. Kurdish authorities are expecting more arrivals in the coming days. Partners are mobilizing to provide assistance (see details below).

  6. There are also indications that up to 500 IDP families from the Yezidi minority may have crossed into Syria.

  7. The Iraq Army has conducted a recognition mission over Jebel Sinjar to assess future humanitarian air drops.

  8. Corroborated reports from two sources in Telafar (Ninewa Governorate) indicate that 100 women and children from Sinjar are trapped at Telafar airport, surrounded by ISIS. Telefar is 55km north east of Sinjar. Reports also mention that 200 families are currently hiding in a cement factory outside of Sinjar on the road to Telefar.

  9. As of 2 pm, Monday, 4 August, control of Rabya town (the Syrian border crossing) is contested with armed clashes reportedly taking place between ISIS and Peshmerga armed forces. An unknown number of IDPs in the area are also reportedly in urgent need of water, food and shelter.

Humanitarian Response

  1. In support of the Humanitarian Coordinator, OCHA is coordinating with UNAMI and humanitarian partners to obtain more information on the situation and determine how best to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance.

  2. Dohuk Governorate (KRG) - Overall, local authorities are looking at four sites; the expansion of Bajet Kandela, a temporary camp at Zakho, expansion of Garmawa camp, and the Gawilan temporary site. Coordination is being led by Governor’s Office with the support of UNAMI.

a. Land has been allocated by authorities near the town of Sharya (15 to 20 minutes’ drive to Domiz camp); UNHCR will support immediate site preparation and shelter within the camp. UNHCR is funding an NGO to provide camp management in support of the Kurdish authorities. This support is intended to last for 3 months, after which UNHCR will withdraw from direct support and provide technical assistance thereafter.

  1. The ongoing and planned response by international humanitarian organisations to the newly displaced people in Dahuk Governorate is as follows:

a. WFP has dispatched 22 metric tonnes of food rations which will provide immediate food assistance to 50,770 people. WFP will be using energy bars (14 metric tonnes) prepositioned in Dahuk as an immediate response for infant feeding.WFP also established field kitchens in three camps in Dahuk, where new arrivals will be directed, with its partner Barzani Charity Foundation.

b. UNHCR has dispatched trucks containing 1,000 Core Relief Item kits from Erbil to this location. A distribution of 100 kits began at dawn this morning and the rest of the kits will be distributed as soon as they arrive today. 2,000 tents have also been dispatched from the UNHCR stock in Erbil to Dahuk. UNHCR has approved 6,000 kits in total for Dahuk to cover the immediate needs of the 6,600 families.

c. UNICEF is dispatching standard relief items for more than 10,000 IDPs to Dohuk Governorate from Erbil. UNICEF locally procured a total of 13,900 sets of bottled water (83,400 litres; sufficient drinking water for 27,800 people for one day) in Dohuk Governorate, to be distributed in Badget Kandala (11,400 litres) and Sharia (72,000 litres). The water for Badget Kandala has already been dispatched to the camp.

d. IOM is distributing a total of 150 non-food item kits in Shikhan district, Dahuk Governorate. IOM has scaled up its procurement process to quickly replenish its stocks which will be made readily available for distribution to up to 2,000 newly displaced families within the next seven days.

e. UNFPA will be distributing dignity kits (hygiene items and clothing) to pregnant women who are arriving in Dahuk. UNFPA will also provide reproductive healthcare services in the three newly established camps.

  1. The information in this note was compiled by OCHA Iraq and UNAMI based on a variety of sources, including the Government of Iraq, the Regional Government of Kurdistan, UN Agencies, International Non-Government Organisations, media reports, and key informant interviews.

  2. The next Flash Update will be issued if required in the comings days. For more information, contact David Swanson, or visit the Humanitarian Operations Centre, UNAMI Erbil.


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