UNICEF Responds To Growing Crisis In Iraq

After the last three weeks of violence in Iraq, homelessness, fear and destitution is the reality faced by many of the children who have been displaced by the conflict says UNICEF.

According to the aid agency approximately half a million people half of which are children have been forced to flee their home.

Homeless, scared and destitute – this is the reality for many children displaced by the last three weeks of violence in Iraq.

The crisis has forced an estimated 500,000 people, half of them children, to flee their homes.

Marzio Babille UNICEF representative in Iraq says all the displaced families that he has met say the same thing, they feel fear and uncertainty.

“Children were visibly terrified. People who survived some of Iraq’s darkest years were reliving nightmares they thought they would never have to go through again. Many said fighting and reports of abductions and summary executions put them on the run.” Dr. Barbille said.

There are also very disturbing reports that children are being drawn into the conflict including a 17 year old who supposedly hails from Sydney which is a breach of international humanitarian law and a blatant disregard for their well being.

The current humanitarian response to the escalation of violence in Iraq has been dealing with the risk of disease outbreaks as the hot summer has put hygiene and clean water as the central issue.

UNICEF has responded by delivering over 100,000 liters of drinking water, 3,500 hygiene kits and 5000 food parcels which has been of great help to over 50,000 children.

Dr. Babille says that the agency has been successful in getting access to children in hard to reach areas as well as from minority backgrounds who are typically underserved.

Dr. Babille added there was much more to be done and stressed the humanitarian and political situation in the country is still evolving quickly.

“This crisis is stretching our humanitarian efforts and financial resources to the maximum. We are grateful to all our donors who have provided support but we clearly need much more to be able to provide sufficient aid to children and their families, and we look to the generosity of the international community for that” he said.

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