UN Envoy Concerned about Deteriorating Situation in Fallujah, Calls for Unity and Political Engagement
Since the beginning of the fighting in Anbar Province over 63,000 families have been registered as internally displaced. Although many have fled to other parts of the country, including Karbala, Baghdad and Erbil provinces, others have sought safety in outlying communities in Anbar Province or are unable to flee the fighting.
Their condition remains precarious with food stocks and potable water running low, poor sanitation and limited access to health care.
In a joint relief operation to assist the Government’s response to the crisis, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has so far distributed approximately 2,453 kits of core relief items; and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) approximately 11,500 hygiene kits and various water/sanitation supplies.
The World Food Programme has handed out 4,650 Food Parcels, and the International Organization for Migration 1,415 non-food items . The World Health Organisation distributed 2 surgical kits covering 1,000 beneficiaries and medical supplies for 10,000 beneficiaries.
“Since the first days of January the UN continues to work with the government, local authorities to provide aid to those affected by the fighting in Anbar. Although the conditions remain extremely difficult, with access roads often blocked by fighting, we will continue to cooperate with people on the ground to deliver assistance tot hose in need” Mr. Mladenov added.
“I am particularly concerned about the rapidly deteriorating conditions in Fallujah where many residents are caught up in the fighting. The UN continues to urge for humanitarian access to the city. Recent reports that the Fallujah General Hospital may have been used as headquarters for armed groups and also targeted by shelling are very worrying. Hospitals and medical facilities should be protected by all” Mr. Mladenov said.
Mr. Mladenov further reiterated his call for a political solution to the crisis that would allow all Iraqis to “unite against terrorism, which is affecting all segments of society”.
“I call on all sides to address the causes of violence through dialogue and the political process and to help rebuild Anbar” he concluded.
(UN image via Shutterstock)