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Christian Aid has launched an appeal to enable its partner organisations in northern Iraq to step up relief operations to help the thousands who have fled in the face of an offensive by insurgents in recent days.
Some half a million people are estimated to be on the move after fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) captured the city of Mosul and a number of other towns north of Baghdad.
A large number of those fleeing have made their way into the north east of the country – some 200,000 of them to the city of Dohuk, and another 100,000 to the city of Erbil.
Relief services in that part of Iraq are already hard-pressed coping with tens of thousands of refugees who have arrived from the conflict in Syria in recent years.
Christian Aid’s humanitarian programmes manager, Adrian Ouvry, said today: ‘This is a crisis on top of a crisis. Large numbers have fled to an area where there is already a serious humanitarian crisis as a result of the Syrian conflict.
‘Over 220,000 Syrian refugees are already in northern Iraq trying to escape the fighting in their own country. These emergencies are on a huge scale. There is an overwhelming need for help.
‘Christian Aid partners will be stepping up their work to reach the new influx of internally displaced with food, water and hygiene and sanitation kits, with a view to move to longer team need such as cash for work later in the response.’ he added.
Christian Aid partner REACH already works with some of the most vulnerable refugee communities living in informal camps around Sulymaniyah and Erbil
Hero Anwar, senior programme officer with REACH said helping the new arrivals from the latest conflict would now become a priority
‘For now we have to focus on emergency response,’ she said. ‘People cannot stay in a place where they are under threat. They have had to flee their homes with nothing. They need to basic items just to survive. With the support from Christian Aid we are able to respond.’
Christian Aid hopes ultimately to help some 50,000 of those most recently displaced.
To find out more please visit the Christian Aid webpage http://www.christianaid.org.uk/iraq
To donate to the Iraq Crisis Appeal please call 08080 004 004 (free from a BT landline) or text HELP to 70007. You will be charged £4 plus one standard text
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