The International Federation continues to support SARC response to the immediate needs of Iraqi displaced in Syria. Due to many of the activities already being covered by the Syria Drought Emergency Appeal (MDRSY001) launched in August 2009 and the clinic support to assist the Iraqi displaced not being a long term activity that the International Federation will continue to support, the activities are not put under an annual plan. This Appeal is almost entirely focusing on emergency response, with an emphasis on access to health care for the target population.
Syria continues to host the largest number of externally displaced Iraqis in the region. According to government figures, there are approximately 1,2 million Iraqis present in Syria. Despite considerable economic and social consequences, Syria has continued to provide support to the displaced Iraqis. In view of the volatile situation in Iraq which is not encouraging voluntary repatriation, the Iraqis' stay in Syria will be prolonged with a majority of them being exposed to increased vulnerability. Agencies report of increased numbers seeking assistance, counselling and protection.
Supported by the International Federation, SARC has responded to the needs of the Iraqi displaced since April 2007 with the launch of the Middle East: Population Displaced from Iraq Emergency Appeal (MDR81002) in line with the Global Agenda Goals of the International Federation. The main components of the response have been provision of quality basic health services and distribution of non-food items to 200,000 Iraqi families and vulnerable host communities. With the assistance of the Netherlands Red Cross supported by European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), the National Society established in early 2008 a number of health clinics all over Syria to provide health support to the displaced Iraqis. The responsibility to support these clinics was shifted to the International Federation in October 2008. It is a priority for SARC to continue the provision of nation wide health care to the Iraqi displaced regardless of their status - registered and non-registered by United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) - and vulnerable host communities. More than 150,000 consultations had been carried out as of the end of October 2009 to almost 35,000 individual vulnerable patients. Approximately 1,000 new patients were received every month and there is no indication that the situation will change in the coming months. In early 2009, a patient flat rate was introduced in the clinics that further enhanced access to health care for Iraqi patients and poor host communities. An efficient system for provision of medicine was in place, utilizing the countrywide well established pharmacy system. In 2009, 80,000 hygiene parcels, 30,000 mattresses and 20,000 blankets were distributed to families in need.
Based on the situation, this Emergency Appeal responds to a request from SARC, and focuses on providing support to take an appropriate and timely response in delivering assistance and relief in the following sectors: relief distribution, clinic based health and care, community based health and first aid (CBHFA) and institutional development. The focus is to continue supporting the National Society's health care services through 10 health clinics and four mobile health units in 2010, but also to increase access to psycho-social support through awareness-raising of clinic staff and to enhance health education and health promotion. Provision of school kits to 20,000 children and fuel for heating for 600 families is included in the Appeal with the purpose to encourage children's school attendance and to prevent illnesses in the cold season. Also part of the Appeal is focusing on continued organisational support for monitoring and supervision of programme implementation, including upgrading and development of the health information system (SCIS) established by SARC. Training of branch leadership is included in the Appeal to enhance awareness of the Red Cross/Red Crescent (RC/RC) Movement.
SARC has been mandated by the government to coordinate external support and assistance to the Iraqi displaced. To date, 16 international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Society. SARC also works in close cooperation and coordination with United Nations agencies and government institutions. In 2009, six partner National Societies (PNSs) - Qatar Red Crescent, Danish Red Cross, French Red Cross, British Red Cross, Turkish Red Crescent and United Arab Emirates Red Crescent - provided support related to the drought in the eastern parts of the country. SARC also cooperates with and is supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The International Federation wishes to thank the United States Department for Population, Refugees & Migration (PRM), the Swedish Government and Swedish Red Cross, OPEC, German Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross, American Red Cross, Finnish Red Cross, British Red Cross, China Red Cross/Hong Kong branch, Monaco Red Cross and Poland Red Cross as well as private donors in Switzerland, United States and online donations for the kind contributions to the Middle East Population Displaced from Iraq Emergency Appeal. Through this support, SARC has been able to provide humanitarian aid, including quality health services, to the Iraqi population in Syria and vulnerable members of the host community.