The UN refugee agency has opened its most recent camp for internally displaced persons in Iraq’s restive Anbar province – host to the largest number of 3.2 million Iraqis uprooted across the country and where more than 250,000 civilians have fled their homes over the past six months.
The new “Marzaki camp is strategically located close to the bridge connecting Anbar and Baghdad provinces so that residents can have access to safety in case conflict lines move closer to the camp,” said Bruno Geddo, Representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Iraq.
“Displaced people scattered throughout the area in poor living conditions will now be able to properly settle down and benefit from medical and other services close by in Baghdad,” Mr. Geddo said in a press release issued in the Iraqi capital.
According to the agency, the new camp that opened Monday can provide shelter to some 3,000 displaced Iraqis who have been living in schools, unfinished buildings or staying with relatives around Ameriyat al-Fallujah in Anbar, which has become a safe haven for uprooted Iraqis in the province.
More than 250,000 civilians are estimated to have fled Ramadi since April, with the majority staying inside Anbar province itself living with host families, in informal settlements, unfinished buildings, schools or renting apartments.
Many of those fleeing Anbar are being denied access into Baghdad province due to security-driven restrictions and in recent months, thousands of Iraqis have been stranded for days on the Anbar side of the bridge, often staying in dire conditions without enough food or proper shelter, the agency said.