The Khazir camps accommodate displaced populations who have escaped the fighting in Iraq.
“More than 15,000 people have been forced from their homes within the past 10 days, joining more than three million people already displaced in Iraq, explains Thomas Hugonnier, head of Handicap International’s operations in Iraq. "If the situation becomes critical, population movements are likely to intensify over the coming days."
Thomas continues: "More than 200,000 people are expected to be displaced from Mosul and the surrounding area over the coming weeks, and possibly more than one million. Population movements have become particularly complex in recent days, and people have begun to flee in all directions. Leaving everything behind, they generally arrive in places where the population is already particularly vulnerable. It’s an extremely worrying situation."
Handicap International will work to provide physical therapy, psychosocial support, and mine risk education to displaced people as soon as they arrive to the camp for internally displaced persons. The organization makes sure that other humanitarian organizations in the field are especially aware of vulnerable individuals–people with disabilities and/or injuries, older individuals, etc.
Handicap International will also work to provide support to the thousands of people returning to their villages following the withdrawal of the Islamic State. “Families of returnees are also highly vulnerable and probably the most at risk from explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices,” adds Thomas Hugonnier.
“A lot of traps have been found in homes and streets in recently retaken villages. Returnees must be made aware of the hazards they are going to face, and know what to do in this sort of situation. It’s a question of survival.”
Funds to implement an emergency response are insufficient. Handicap International is calling on the international community to release the necessary funds needed to provide swift and comprehensive aid to the displaced people. Approximately one and a half million civilians may be affected by this crisis and their needs are increasingly urgent as displacements continue to rise.
Handicap International and the Iraqi crisis: More than 125,000 people have benefited from Handicap International since launching emergency operations in 2014. Handicap International regularly reviews its actions taking into account the highly volatile situation across the country. The organization provides activities to protect people and raise awareness of the hazards posed by mines and conventional weapons through rehabilitation and psychosocial support, demining, risk education, advocacy on the inclusion of people with disabilities, and providing support to health centers (donating equipment, training staff, equipping local premises, providing transportation, and adapted support to help people access the center). Learn more about Handicap International’s work in Iraq.