Refugee arrivals to Iraq pass 7,000 mark in seven days
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.
A week after first refugees crossed from north-east Syria into Iraq, the arrivals to northern Iraq continue. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, teams on the ground report that of this morning more than 7,100 have arrived since last Monday. Most of them – just under 7,000 – are sheltered at the Bardarash refugee camp, some 140 kilometres east of the Iraqi-Syrian border.
Most of the Syrian refugees come from cities and villages from northeast of Syria. Three out of four are women and children. There are unaccompanied children among the arrivals. Some refugees, especially children, require psycho-social first aid, and psycho-social support as they fled in fear in the midst of fighting. Some witnessed explosions and shelling. Refugees with relatives living in the area are allowed to leave the camp and join their families.
UNHCR and partners, together, with local authorities are providing a range of services that start from the border. These include reception, provision of hot meals, transportation to the camp, registration, shelter and protection services. Teams also conduct protection monitoring, child protection and identification of unaccompanied children and persons with specific needs, already at border reception centres.
The Bardarash camp has a water network, an electricity grid and a sewage system. These networks need expansion as more refugees arrive to the camp. The camp has a reception centre, a registration centre and storage units for humanitarian supplies. UNHCR partner, the local Board of Relief and Humanitarian Affairs, is in charge of camp management.
UNHCR is working with other aid agencies in support of the response led by the local authorities to deliver relief and services.
Prior to the latest arrivals, some 228,000 Syrian refugees have found shelter in Iraq, forced from their homes by more than eight years of conflict and destruction in Syria.
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