Baghdad/ Geneva, 1July 2014 – As the security situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate, the Red Cross and Red Crescent is stepping up its preparedness and response capacity to the crisis. Today the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched an emergency appeal for around 6.4million Swiss francs (7.2 million US dollars) to support the Iraqi Red Crescent Society enhance their response capacity to meet the increasing needs in the country.
The Iraqi Red Crescent Society has been at the forefront providing assistance to people who have been forced out of their homes. Over 4,000 Red Crescent volunteerswere mobilizedin the country, with 200 in Kurdistandelivering essential lifesaving aid, such as food and water, to the affected population. The Red Crescent recorded 400,000 people who have fled into the Kurdistan region of the country
According to Dr Yassin al-Ma’amouri, President of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, the NationalSociety is extremely concerned for the security, safety and well-being the hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced. The affected people are in urgent need of food, water, shelter and other non-food essentials.
“If the violence continues to escalate, which seems to be very likely according to numerousassessments,it will drive many more people out of their homes to seek refuge elsewhere, particularlyin the Kurdistan region, which is considered to be a safe zone. Although our volunteers and staff are ever ready to assist the affected population, a further surge of displacement will push the response capacity of the Red Crescent close to the limit,” said Dr Yassin. “It would also put a lot of strain on the already depleting resources of host families and overload the capacity of existing camps.”
Further displacement will also bring with it challenges beyond the immediate needs of food and shelter.
“There is a pervasive concern that the health situation might deteriorate. We fearthat diseases could spread among the displaced families in the camps. Ensuring safe access for our volunteers to deliver assistance to the affected communities in high-risk areas is also a huge issue,” said Dr Yassin.
Farid Abdulkadir, the IFRC country representative in Iraq, said that one of the main aims for the funds from the appeal is to enhance the preparedness and response capacity of the Iraqi Red Crescent,including the replenishment and pre positioning of emergency stocks for at least 180,000 people.
“The IFRC will also continue to work closely with the Iraqi Red Crescent to strengthen their first aid capacity and ensure that the trauma and psychosocial needs of those who have been affected are also addressed,”added Abdulkadir.
Earlier in June, the IFRC released 364,486 Swiss francs (401,434 US dollars) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Iraqi Red Crescent replenish its relief stocks and provide aidto 20,000 people.