UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has opened another camp in response to a continued surge in the number of newly-displaced Iraqis fleeing the military offensive in western Mosul and in other areas of conflict.
Al Salamiyah 2, south of Mosul, began to receive its first families today. 2,500 tents have so far been pitched, but more tents will be installed in the coming days and the camp will have total capacity for nearly 5,000 families (around 30,000 individuals).
“We fled before the military operations but other families were forced to move by armed groups to Syria. We’re glad to be here now, to get some shelter and help,” said 28 year-old Khaled who is a father of four who is originally from al-Ba’aj area. “There was not much food and we all got sick and exhausted. My wife can’t breastfeed our youngest: she has no milk. We could only eat once a day, often just rice,” he added.
“We pushed for the early opening of the camp in response to the massive outflow of civilians from both Mosul and other areas of conflict, west of Mosul, close to the Syrian border,” said Hovig Etyemezian, UNHCR’s head of Mosul office.
“Newly-displaced civilians report dire conditions in conflict areas, with severe shortages of basic necessities,” he added. “Many have lost family members and there has also been a big increase in the number of people who have been injured.”
The new camp will be managed by UNHCR’s partner, ACTED, which is also managing the nearby Al Salamiyah 1 camp. Al Salamiyah 1, built in part by the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MoMD) in Ninewa Governate, was handed over to UNHCR and its partners, for upgrading work. It opened just two weeks ago with capacity for up to 10,000 people and is now full.