WFP staff members in northern Iraqi have confirmed that from March 13-21, some 4,961 internally displaced persons arrived in the northern governorates after fleeing towns controlled by the Iraqi government.
Some 2,194 were officially registered as coming from Erbil, 517 from Dahuk near the Turkish border and 2,250 from Sulaymaniyah, close to the Iranian frontier.
IDPS IN ERBIL GOVERNORATE
WFP national staff report that the security situation is slowly returning to normal in Erbil and that some of the 2,194 who had fled to outlying towns and villages in the north are returning home.
On March 20, WFP national staff, together with representatives from other UN agencies, the International Red Cross (IFRC) and non-governmental organisation Qandil, visited Soran District, in the north of Erbil Governorate, in order to assess the status of IDPs).
Soran District: the local authorities report that some 512 IDPs, who fled Mosul and Kirkuk - both cities controlled by the Iraqi government - are currently staying in schools in Soran District, together with a further 3,359 who escaped from Erbil City itself.
Only IDPs from Kirkuk, part of Centre/South of Iraq, are being registered at Soran. Local authorities are encouraging these people, a total of 60 families, to move to temporary camps for shelter.
Emergency relief for Erbil's IDPs: the local authorities have identified locations to setup two temporary camps: Delizan (Diana), where 8,000 tents could be erected and Sarashkatwan (Megasur) for 1,572 tents. But bad weather conditions, in particular heavy rain, are slowing down efforts to establish the camps: to date, UNOPS has only erected 300 tents.
With no food aid currently reaching Erbil Governorate, WFP will draw on its remaining stocks to allow distribution in Soran District to help families, who are hosting relatives fleeing from other areas/governorates. However, the success of this plan will depend on the availability of food agents, such as shopkeepers, to distribute the food aid.
The general food distribution for June/July 2003 under the UN Oil-for-Food Programme has not been completed in Erbil Governorate.
IDPS IN DAHUK GOVERNORATE
WFP has participated in a meeting with the Governor of Dahuk, near the Turkish border, to discuss IDPs. According to the Governor, around 300 families - equivalent to 1,500 people - have fled to Dakuk from Centre/South Iraq.
The local authorities estimate that up to 200 IDPs are still arriving each day. They need all kinds of assistance, since they were unable to bring food or non-food items with them.
Temporary camps to accomodate the IDPs are planned for the Bagerat area, 30 kms north-east of Dahuk.
WFP IN NORTH: SECURITY UPDATE
WFP staff in Erbil, Dahuk and Sulaymaniyah have confirmed that all the their staff, offices and warehouses are safe and intact.
This is a summary of what was said by WFP spokesperson Khaled Mansour - to whom quoted text may be attributed - at the press briefing, on 23 March 2003, in Amman, Jordan
For more information: tel: +962-6-566 8171
Kuwait airlift: update
Kuwait: a second aircraft carrying 40 metric tons of High Energy Biscuits (HEB) has landed in Kuwait.
Some 80 tonnes of a planned 160 tonne consignment from WFP's Brindisi warehouse in Italy have now been delivered to Kuwait, in readiness for potential refugees or distribution in Iraq if necessary.
The first delivery took place on March 22.