Since early 2014 Iraq has been suffering repeated heavy fighting. With no end in sight, in the meantime more than 3 million people have been displaced within the country. Many of them are seeking refuge in the autonomous region of Kurdistan in North Iraq, which is already hosting more than 240 000 Syrian refugees. Because the living conditions of these displaced persons are precarious, the German Red Cross is supporting the Iraqi Red Crescent in its emergency relief efforts.
Region: Autonomous region of Kurdistan - Provinces of Dohuk, Suleimaniyah and Erbil
Project volume: 4 755 728 EUR
Finance: German Ministry of Foreign office, donations
Partners: Iraqi Red Crescent (IRC)
The situation of people in the refugee camp of Gawilan in Dohuk is particularly dire. Around 1 400 particularly vulnerable families live there under desperate conditions in tents which have to be renewed every year. In order to alleviate the plight of these refugees, GRC provides vouchers for construction materials so that they can build their own semi-temporary shelter. Additionally, in order to cover other basic needs of the families, they receive one-off cash payments.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees in Iraq are living under critical shelter conditions, such as unfinished buildings. At the same time weather conditions in Iraq can be extremely harsh, with temperatures ranging between 0 °C in winter and up to plus 50 °C in summer. Makeshift shelters offer only little protection. Therefore GRC is providing essential supplies to the affected population. IRC volunteers distribute vouchers for kerosene in winter, but also stoves, insulating mats and blankets. In summer the GRC provides evaporating air coolers to protect people from the effects of heat. This greatly alleviates the situation in particular for children and elderly persons.
Uniform relief items such as hygiene kits and food parcels are indispensable. However, they are often not sufficient to cover all the basic needs of a family. For example one family needs medication to treat an illness, whereas another family is unable to pay next month's rent. By providing one-off or regular cash assistance, GRC enables these people to meet their personal requirements. At the same time, these payments help to maintain the autonomy and dignity of those affected.
After GRC trained Iraqi Red Crescent volunteers to become first-aid trainers, these are now spreading their knowledge around the refugee camps. The displaced families learn to take their own measures to save life and avoid or to at least minimize threats until professional help arrives. The new first-aid workers also receive a first-aid Kit and are ready to contribute to an improved first response system in the refugee camp.
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