ERBIL, Iraq, 21 August 2017 – The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is providing emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) assistance for civilians fleeing Tel Afar district as Iraq’s government announced the launch of new military operations early Sunday to retake areas west of Mosul from the so-called Islamic State (IS).
The United Nations (UN) expects displacement out of Tel Afar and its surroundings to be in the thousands as fighting intensifies in the area. Located some 60 kilometers west of Mosul city, an estimated 30,000 people are believed to have already fled the district in search of safety.
With support from USAID and hardware donated by the German Government through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Care International, DRC is currently assisting with waste management and emergency water trucking, as well as working to install latrines and water storage tanks for the men, women and children fleeing Tel Afar and arriving in areas away from the frontlines.
“We are prepared to provide more humanitarian assistance around Tel Afar and across Ninewa governorate as needs arise,” said Viren Falcao, the head of DRC’s Duhok office. “As the fighting intensifies, we expect to see greater displacement, and we will be there to provide emergency, life-saving assistance as needed.”
“At the moment, daytime temperatures in Tel Afar average around 43 degrees (110F) and people are fleeing across desert-like landscapes, sometimes for over 10 hours, which puts them at risk of severe dehydration,” Falcao added. “We are working to ensure they have access to clean water and sanitary facilities once they reach safety.”
DRC remains committed to the larger humanitarian response in conflict-affected areas across Iraq in order to address life-saving needs as they arise, and provide immediate assistance in the form of critical relief items, access to clean drinking water, protection services, unconditional cash grants and management of IDP camps.
The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is a humanitarian, non-governmental, non-profit organisation founded in 1956 that works in more than 40 countries throughout the world. DRC fulfils its mandate by providing direct assistance to conflict – affected populations – refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and host communities in the conflict areas of the world.