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Iraq: thousands of displaced and refugees flood into Kurdistan

Order of Malta teams expand essential support

Erbil, 11 September 2014

Erbil: a shipping container becomes a mobile medical unit

Erbil: a shipping container becomes a mobile medical unit

Thousands have fled into Kurdistan’s Zakho district, located on the Iraqi-Syrian border – internally displaced Christians, Yazidi and Arabs as well as Syrian refugees. The number of displaced and refugee camps in north Iraq continues to rise, reports Malteser International’s humanitarian relief team on the ground. “The displaced families are afraid of further attacks,” explains public health expert Dr. Marie Benner, of Malteser International’s emergency relief team. “Many have already fled their homes three or four times. They can never stay in the same place for long, and are always looking for safe shelter.”

Emergency medicines but no relief for chronic sufferers

As refugees continue to move towards other regions Malteser International’s relief assistance is  expanding. “A mobile team to bring aid items and medicines to neglected areas is essential. But people with chronic diseases have no support,” says Brenner. In Zakho, the team have already distributed basic medicines – antibiotics, iron supplements, wound treatment and pain relievers.

Aid for 25,000 IDPs

Malteser International is providing emergency medical care to 25,000 displaced persons in and around Erbil together with a partner organisation; a second team is covering 18 sites around Zakho which currently house the displaced. A project with the Chaldean Catholic church is being developed to open a permanent health centre in Ankawa, an Assyrian suburb of Erbil (recent actions include providing two refugee camps in Ankawa with medicines, medical supplies, wheelchairs, water dispensers and filters, and setting up a shipping container clinic for inpatient treatment).

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