In August 2014, thousands of people fled the fighting in the Sinjar region and the Ninewah Governorate to Iraqi Kurdistan with stories of the displaced trapped in mountains.
A year later, the situation remains almost unchanged. The majority of Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) left the temporary shelters to live in camps with haphazard standards, while humanitarian actors are unable to reach many mountainous areas.
In the city of Zakho, in the Dohuk Governorate, all IDPs could not relocate. Thousands spent winter in unfinished buildings, caulked between tarps and pieces of wood, now left to suffer in the summer heat.
Dalal City is a group of a dozen unfinished buildings located a few kilometres from the main city. More than 1,500 people have found refuge in these substandard buildings. “When they arrived, there was nothing else than these skeletons made of concrete: no water, no toilets. A year later, they are still there, it’s dramatic”, says Charles Strickland, Action Against Hunger’s country director in Iraq.
Action Against hunger intervened in Dalal City in the early days of the emergency and has adapted to new and evolving needs overtime. Distributions of emergency rations, food vouchers, hygiene kits, installation of latrines and water tanks, psychosocial support, the organization extends its interventions in favour of a forgotten population.
Like the people living in Dalal City, the Iraqi crisis as a whole has vanished from the radar while the number of displaced and vulnerable households sharply increases.
However, the international military intervention against the organization Islamic state remains the top priority at the expense of social and humanitarian emergency where only 32% of the needs for 2015 are covered. The World Foor Programme (WFP) has made cuts through halving food rations and the value of vouchers distributed to families. Given the current funding, other cuts are to follow.
Since January 2014, over 3 million people have been displaced in Iraq and a significant proportion have no access to humanitarian assistance and safe areas due to fighting or the banning of movements. Their safety must be guaranteed. Their access to basic services must be ensured as is access for humanitarian actors to areas where they are located.
OUR MISSION IN IRAQ:
Mission launch: 2013
Number of staff: 274
Intervention areas: Dohuk, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Ninewah and Diyala Governorates
Beneficiaries: +/- 300,000 per month
Camps covered by Action Against Hunger: 6 — Qadiya, Chamisku, Sheikhan, Esyan, Garmawa, Taraz De
Syrian refugee camps covered by Action Against Hunger: 6 — Gawilan, Darashakran, Qushtapa, Kawergosk, Basirma, Akre
Amount of food distributed since June 2014: More than 9,000 tons — almost the weight of the Eiffel Tower!