After months of being unable to leave the city and living under siege, thousands of Iraqi families are currently fleeing the fighting in Fallujah via two main bridges, which were opened yesterday, 16 June. These displaced Iraqis join the more than 53,000 who already fled the city between 22 May and 15 June.
IOM continues to closely monitor displacement from Fallujah in response to ongoing military operations in and around the city. Through 15 June, IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Emergency Tracking identified 53,124 individuals (8,854 families) who have fled from in and around Fallujah. This includes more than 20,000 people who have fled Fallujah in the past week (since 11 June).
Over 44,000 of the displaced have fled to Amiriyat Al Fallujah, within Anbar district. The number of displaced in Amiriyat Al Fallujah exceeds available shelter and humanitarian supplies for the displaced. Urgent needs include tents, water, ice and medical assistance; additional needs include food and non-food item kits. As daily high temperature are expected to reach well over 40 degrees Celsius this week in Amiriyat Al Fallujah, the displaced struggle to stay cool in the rising heat.
In cooperation with humanitarian partners and government authorities, IOM has distributed non-food item (NFI) kits to over 4,000 recently displaced families from Fallujah since May 29, the majority in Al-Alamirya. This includes the distribution of 500 non-food item kits yesterday, which was sponsored by the EU’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO). These kits include essential items, include lightweight summer blankets, towels, plastic mats, a cool box, rechargeable fan, rechargeable light, gas cooker and a hygiene kit, first aid kit, and sewing kit.
NFI distributions are conducted in cooperation with local authorities; donors include the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), and the Government of Germany. Additional supplies are being transported towards Amiriyat Al Fallujah to facilitate further response.
IOM staff spoke with a female beneficiary, who was caring for her two young children, one of whom is disabled, in their temporary shelter in a camp for displaced Iraqis from Fallujah. “When we fled the war zone, crossing the river in a small boat with my daughter Shahad was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. She was afraid of the water, of gunfire, of strangers… everything around her scared her. Last night was our first night in the camp; although I was really tired, I couldn’t sleep. I kept praying to God for emergency assistance, so that my children would not have to sleep on the ground anymore. Just fulfilling our basic needs here is so difficult. You only gave us the basics, but we are satisfied with this gesture as it comes from the heart,” said Shahad’s mother after receiving a non-food item kit from IOM.
The latest report from IOM Iraq’s DTM, published this past week, updated the figure of internally displaced persons (IDPs) throughout the country to 3,306,822 individuals (551,137 families) from 1 January 2014 through 26 May 2016.
IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “This scope of this unfolding displacement from Fallujah, which affects tens of thousands of Iraqis, exceed the supplies and funds we have available to provide the level of care needed for the huge numbers of displaced. Many have endured harrowing journeys in their flight from Fallujah. IOM will continue to cooperate with the UN Humanitarian Country Team, humanitarian partners, government authorities and donors, using all available resources to respond.”
DTM Emergency Tracking, a methodology that aims at tracking sudden displacement linked to newly emerging crises, provide early field reports on displacement figures at the onset of a crisis. Through DTM Emergency Tracking IOM gathers, consolidates and disseminates baseline information on displacement. Data are released through daily updates, and are further verified within the two-week DTM reporting cycle.