UNHCR opens new camp as numbers of families fleeing Mosul continues to increase [EN/AR]
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has opened Chamakor camp – its latest camp opened in response to the surge in displacement triggered by the government offensive to recapture Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul.
Chamakor, located about 20 km east of Mosul, received its first 347 new arrivals from western Mosul on Monday evening. Displaced families continued to arrive at the camp throughout the day today and more are expected throughout the week.
Capacity is rapidly filling up in camps to the east of Mosul while those to the south of the city are full. Over 195,000 IDPs are currently being sheltered in the 21 camps built by UN agencies and the government around Mosul.
“The opening of Chamakor is a part of our response to deal with the rapid increase in families currently leaving western Mosul,” said Fred Cussigh, UNHCR’s head of office, Erbil, visiting the site today. “With partners we are managing to keep up with the pace of new arrivals and still have capacity to shelter and assist thousands more in other UNHCR camps to the north of Mosul if needed. We also have two other new camps under construction – one of which should be ready by the end of the month.”
“However, if the current scale of displacement continues, we could face some serious challenges ahead.”
Currently UNHCR has pitched tents on 1,700 plots at Chamakor, ready to receive up to 10,200 persons. UNHCR has also built another 4,300 plots available in camps around Mosul that can shelter an additional 25,000 individuals.
UNHCR is also building two additional camps near Mosul (Hasansham U2 to the east, and Hammam Al-Alil 2 to the south) for another 39,000 persons. It is also erecting 19 tented halls in the government-built Hammam Al-Alil camp to serve as reception centres and transit area, and examining expanding capacity in camps north of Mosul. The biggest challenge remains finding suitable land to build camps.
Currently there are 206,500 Iraqis displaced by the fighting in Mosul, including 50,000 people displaced in the past two weeks, since the start of operations in west Mosul began on 19 February.