UNHCR expanding response in northern Iraq amid continuing Syrian refugee influx

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Syrian refugees collect blankets and basic aid items from UNHCR partner staff at Bardarash camp in Duhok, Iraq.
© UNHCR/Firas Al-Khateeb

More than 12,000 Syrian refugees have sought shelter in neighbouring Iraq since the latest influx began a fortnight ago, according to teams from UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. The refugee population at recently opened Bardarash camp has exceeded 11,000 people and more than 800 are now sheltered at Gawilan transit site. Both sites are approximately 150 kilometres east of Syria-Iraq border. UNHCR and the authorities are working on reuniting refugees from the camp with their family members residing in the Kurdistan region of Iraq (KRI).

UNHCR is supporting the response led by the KRI authorities and it is working closely with them to ready other locations, in the event that both sites reach their capacity.

Refugee families at both locations are receiving the same services and humanitarian assistance. These include hot meals, transportation, registration, shelter and protection services. UNHCR teams also conduct protection monitoring, child protection and identification of unaccompanied children and persons with specific needs, starting already at border reception centres. We are maintaining this support and relief for all the newly arrived refugees.

We are grateful to all those involved in this ongoing humanitarian response, including the KRI authorities and all of our partners, who are working 24/7 to accommodate refugees and provide them with safe shelter, basic services and protection. We have also deployed additional UNHCR staff from our Baghdad office to support our teams in Erbil and Dohuk to respond to the needs of the newly arrived refugees.

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