25 Aug 2014

Handicap International Strengthens its Relief to Internally Displaced People

Faced with the important displacements of Iraqi populations, who left their homes to seek security in the Kurdish region, Handicap International decided to launch an emergency response. From June 2014, the organization has been setting up teams with the mission to identify the specific needs of people with injuries or disabilities. After a first individual assessment, our teams provide direct services such as rehabilitation sessions, mobility aids and assistive devices, and organize the referral of the persons who require it towards the appropriate service provider.

As of 8th August, 413 persons requiring special assistance have already been identified. ”This figure is likely to be multiplied by two in the coming weeks, explains Benedetta Di Cintio, Head of Mission for Handicap International in Iraq. The latest fights, especially on Sinjar city, have pushed a number of people to flee. Large groups of people, including a majority of children, women and elders, are reported to have fled to the neighbouring mountain areas, and an estimated 200,000 people made their way to Dohuk Governorate or to other disputed border areas. Most of these people left with pretty much nothing and are in urgent need of life saving assistance.”

Handicap International has been contacted by local authorities to provide assistive devices and mobility aids for an estimated 35,000 people displaced within Dohuk area. On 7th August, Handicap International mobile teams went to a displacement site in Dohuk for a rapid needs assessment of persons with disabilities. The organization’s logistic team is already preparing stocks of assistive devices and mobility aids, which will be distributed as soon as the security conditions allow.

“The intensification of fighting is likely to increase the number of people with disabilities and/or injuries who will need rapid support, continues Benedetta Di Cintio. Garmawa camp in Dohuk Governorate is currently being relocated as a consequence to these new armed clashed and population movements. In Erbil Governorate, both the local population and displaced persons from Southern Iraq are currently taking the road to Northern areas of Kurdistan. Khazir transit camp in Erbil Governorate has been emptied by 80% as a consequence of the general fear that rose over the past hours. These additional displacements represent a major challenge for us. We need to keep track of the vulnerable persons we identified in order to ensure that their condition doesn’t deteriorate further.”

Additional Information:

Handicap International is operating in close coordination with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) protection teams to refer cases from the surrounding areas and to follow-up the already identified and referred ones.

As part of its response, Handicap International also provides technical support to the other humanitarian actors in order to ensure that the humanitarian response is as inclusive as possible.
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