$1.2 million to support vulnerable people in Iraq

Internally displaced families, unable to find adequate shelter, have been living in public parks. Photo provided by Lutheran World Federation

Internally displaced families, unable to find adequate shelter, have been living in public parks. Photo provided by Lutheran World Federation

We’re pleased to announce that CLWR has received funding to support vulnerable people affected by violence in Iraq.

The Canadian government has granted us $1.2 million to help provide 1,600 households with essential items such as blankets, jerry cans, kerosene heaters, mattresses and hygiene kits, as well as small-scale upgrades to water and sanitation facilities in private shelters hosting displaced people in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The assistance will begin immediately.

Why we are helping

Following the rapid advance of Islamist forces known as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) across Iraq in June 2014, hundreds of thousands have been displaced due to the rapid spread of brutal violence, often targeting religious minorities. Many are suffering from the physical and emotional hardship of having fled their homes with little notice, leaving everything, including family members, behind.

Due to sheer numbers, the Kurdish regional government has been unable to support all the families arriving in the region. People have flooded Dohuk area, and while official UNHCR refugee camps are currently being established in Khanki and Grmawa districts, many families have been forced to live in unfinished buildings, gardens and public spaces because they lack adequate shelter.

Photo provided by Lutheran World Federation

Photo provided by Lutheran World Federation

Because of this, weather is a crucial concern. Winter temperatures reaching as low as -15 degrees Celsius makes heating necessary, and blankets and heaters are considered core relief item priorities. Many families have little to no income, meaning kerosene fuel for heating must also be provided.

Household items needed for daily use include blankets and mattresses, not only for physical comfort but also for hygienic reasons, as displaced persons are living in extremely crowded and cramped quarters. Hygiene kits are needed to provide basic sanitation items and to prevent the spread of disease.

Shelter and water/sanitation upgrades will improve physical comfort, safety and privacy conditions for vulnerable families. Currently, displaced people are crowded into abandoned and unfinished buildings. The buildings lack basic sanitation facilities such as sinks, and many include ceilings and walls that are cracked and at risk of collapse. Given the fast approach of winter weather, these sites will expose already vulnerable people to further risk.

How we are helping

The project will support 1,600 displaced households (approximately 11,200 individuals) with crucial support related to harsh weather and poor living conditions. Winter-related items will include kerosene heaters, winter blankets, and jerry cans to provide support to households through the winter. Kerosene refills will be provided to heat homes over the most extreme winter months.  Hygiene kits will be distributed for the full project period, with mattresses also distributed to vulnerable households in the summer period.

Five hundred of the most vulnerable families (3,500 individuals) will receive basic structural shelter and water/sanitation repairs through the upgrading of communal and private shelters.

Up to 30 per cent of internally displaced people in Dohuk are living in abandoned and unfinished buildings and the upgrades will provide crucial protection from harsh weather and provide hygienic environments, security and privacy to vulnerable families. Upgrades may include installation, repair and insulation of walls or ceilings, installation of windows and locking doors, and repair or replacement of sanitation hardware and fixtures such as sinks, toilets, taps, water tanks and drainage.

The most vulnerable families, including female-headed households, households with large numbers of children, households containing people with disabilities, and households with low income opportunities will be targeted. This support will help save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity, as families continue to cope with the violent displacement crisis.

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