Large-scale flooding beginning on the morning of Friday (23/11) has wreaked havoc across Iraq, killing several people and causing widespread damage to homes, infrastructure and agriculture, and worsening the living conditions of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
In Ninewa governorate, Qayarrah Airstrip and Jeddah IDP camps were particularly affected by the flooding. Among the approximately 7,500 families residing in Qayarrah Airstrip Camp, 2,392 tents were completely flooded forcing hundreds of households to take refuge in the IOM health clinic and other communal areas.
The health clinic in Qayarrah Airstrip Camp hosted nearly 300 individuals, providing IDPs with dry blankets, heaters and emergency health care services. The IOM ambulance transported ten individuals in need of medical assistance but unable to reach the clinic.
“We haven’t been able to sleep at all because we don’t have a dry spot to sit. The water level was knee-deep inside our tent. Now all of our belongings, everything we desperately need this winter, have been ruined by the mud left after the flood.
“We had to put our children on the roof of the communal kitchen to get them out of the mud. Even the food and grains we had stored are drenched. We are in desperate need of dry clothes, mattresses, blankets, fuel and food,” said Kamel Hussein, a resident of Qayarrah Airstrip Camp.
Within hours of the flooding, IOM immediately deployed its Rapid Assessment and Response Team and assessed the damage and needs in the camps. The Organization employed over 600 camp residents to clear the drainage channels, ensuring the flow of water out of the camp, and to repair the damaged road to restore access to camps, thereby allowing humanitarian assistance to reach the most vulnerable displaced persons.
IOM, in coordination with camp management entities, Representative for Ninewa Voluntary Displaced Organization (RNVDO) and Danish Refugee Council (DRC), immediately began distributing hundreds of kits to the most affected families.
Since Friday, more than 3,150 basic non-food item kits have been delivered to households in Qayarrah Airstrip and Jeddah consisting of mattresses, bedsheets, plastic sheeting, a solar lamp, rechargeable light, gas cooker, jerry can and kitchen set. Support for the kits was provided by the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and the Government of Germany.
“The rain and subsequent flooding experienced throughout Iraq over the past weekend has worsened the living conditions of the most vulnerable populations, including displaced households residing in camps. The flooding has highlighted the importance of humanitarian actors maintaining operational capacity in Iraq to scale up emergency assistance in the event of disaster,” said Gerard Waite, Chief of Mission of IOM Iraq.
With more rain expected over the coming days, IOM remains ready to respond to the arising needs and will continue to work closely with the Government of Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement and other humanitarian partners to ensure a timely and effective response to those most affected.