The humanitarian situation of Iraqis recently displaced to the southern governorates of Najaf, Kerbala and Babel is reaching critical levels, according to an assessment by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
WFP assists 50,000 displaced families in Basrah, Thi Qar, Qadissiya, Missan, Wassit, Muthanna, Najaf, Kerbala, and Babel.
“Despite the dangers and challenges posed in accessing this area, WFP has been present in southern and central Iraq since the start of the country’s crisis in 2014,” said Jane Pearce (pictured), Representative and Country Director of the WFP Office in Iraq. “We thank the local governments of Najaf, Kerbala and Babel for their continued cooperation with WFP to alleviate the suffering of displaced Iraqis and helping us provide them with food.”
Many displaced people now live in unoccupied public buildings, mosques known as Husseineyat that local authorities have provided as shelter, or with host communities. The majority of the families who moved to the area said they spent the little savings that they had on transportation to get there.
Many were unable to find refuge in the crowded northern Kurdistan Region of Iraq, which hosts close to 50 percent of internally displaced Iraqi families, while others said it was too expensive to live in the North.
During the assessment, the WFP team met many displaced families who struggle to feed their families or know where their next meal will come from. Najat Hussein, 36, a mother of six who lost her husband seven months ago in the conflict in Tel Afar, moved to Kerbala with her children after hearing that the governorate was helping displaced people.