Massive Injection of Funds Needed to Help Internally Displaced Iraqis

Date Publish: 
Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 16:00
© IOM 2007

Without a massive injection of funds to provide critical
humanitarian assistance to millions of internally displaced Iraqis,
there will be no let up on the large numbers of people forced to
flee Iraq's borders, a situation already placing a great strain on
the resources of neighbouring countries, the International
Organization of Migration warned today.

Launching an appeal for USD 85 million, the Organization said
the human suffering of more than two million internally displaced
people (IDPs) and four million Iraqis in desperate shortage of food
was increasing on a day by day basis and needed urgent
alleviation.

"If people cannot get help with shelter, food, water, health
care or even ways of earning a living to pay for these things
because everyone is in a desperate struggle to survive, people will
feel they have no choice but to flee Iraq. The situation cannot
continue like this. We can and must help them," says Rafiq
Tschannen, IOM's Chief of Mission for Iraq.

IOM and its partners have already been providing humanitarian
assistance to IDPs in Iraq since 2003 despite extremely difficult
security conditions, maintaining a continuous capacity to meet
basic and indispensable humanitarian needs of the displaced. In
that time, IOM has assisted nearly five million beneficiaries,
including IDPs and the host communities, with food and non-food
emergency provisions. Since February 2006, the Organization has
also been monitoring and assessing the needs of the newly
displaced, of which there are more than 820,000 to date.

Funds from the appeal to cover a two-year period would largely
be targeted at quick impact community assistance projects in all
governorates such as the rehabilitation and construction of water
supply, sanitation, health and school facilities destined to help
large numbers of people at a time.

The health sector has perhaps been worst hit by the violence in
the country, with facilities being destroyed or damaged and because
many doctors and nurses have either fled the country or cannot
work. IOM has found that a third of the displaced do not have
access to the medications they require and more than half have not
benefited from vaccination campaigns, making them vulnerable to
various illnesses and disease.

With shelter having been identified as the overwhelming priority
need of displaced people, IOM and its partners would not only
rehabilitate public buildings and extend the homes of host families
to properly accommodate IDPs to take some of the strain off them,
but would also provide construction materials to IDPs to build or
rehabilitate houses.

Emergency food and non-food items distribution among the most
vulnerable of the IDPs would also have to continue to be carried
out in tandem with the quick impact projects as many families, in
particular those of displaced people, are not meeting nutritional
requirements.

"The most significant assistance we can give to the IDPs is one
that provides durable solutions. That is why, alongside providing
emergency assistance, we are looking at ways we can help people
recover from their experiences in the long-term," adds
Tschannen.

Such assistance includes helping people integrate into
communities by enhancing their livelihood chances through the
provision of vocational training, cash-for-work opportunities or
for displaced farmers, getting them access to land to farm and to
provide them with seeds and tools.

With unemployment as a whole in Iraq believed to run anywhere
between 40-60 per cent, competition for jobs is naturally very
tough. Displaced persons say it is worse for them, claiming they
are usually discriminated against because employers fear that they
are a security risk.

Despite a deteriorating security situation, IOM remains
committed to expanding its humanitarian activities and finding
sustainable solutions to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq.

For additional information:

Jean-Philippe Chauzy

Tel: 41 22 717 9361

Mobile: 41 79 285 4366

E-mail: "mailto:pchauzy@iom.int">pchauzy@iom.int

Jemini Pandya

Tel 41 22 717 9486

Mobile: 41 79 217 3374

E-mail: "mailto:jpandya@iom.int">jpandya@iom.int