“The situation for children is dire,” said Marzio Babille, UNICEF Representative in Iraq on his return from Sinjar. “There were over 8000 families, with hundreds of children living in a stadium, others in a religious shrine, playing among tombstones. They may feel safer here, but they are very scared and confused about this brutal change in their daily routine.”
The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq announced today that in June, at least 1,500 civilians had been killed in Iraq, the highest toll in a single month in seven years. Since extremist groups took over parts of Iraq, rising levels of violence, including fighting, summary executions and reports of abduction, have pushed hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.
Sinjar, a town of 35,000 people situated some 190 kilometers from Erbil, is now sheltering an additional 50,000 internally displaced persons, more than half of whom are children. While some are staying with relatives, most families are living in government buildings or out in the open, with little protection from the scorching heat and wind. Access to basic services like water, latrines and protection is sketchy at best.
UNICEF’s convoy on 29 June to Sinjar travelled from Dohuk through disputed areas and delivered 24,000 liters of bottled drinking water, 2,000 hygiene kits, 1,300 jerry cans and 10 recreational kits with enough toys in each for 500 children. The convoy also included 150 safe birthing kits and 150 female hygiene kits to provide safe delivery for the many pregnant women among the displaced, provided by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). In respect to the assistance to pregnant women, UNFPA Representative in Iraq Dr. Georges M. Georgi stated that "UNFPA is delivering on its motto, every pregnancy is cared for and women and girls dignity is protected."
“This is just a fraction of what these families need, but we are committed to advance child survival, staying the course and to doing all we can to help the children of Iraq weather yet another traumatic crisis,” said Babille.
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About UNICEF Iraq
UNICEF has been in Iraq since 1983 working and supporting the Government of Iraq to ensure Iraqi children survive and realize their full potential. Maintaining its comparative advantage in health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation, child protection and social policy, UNICEF supports the development of child friendly policies, building the capacity of institutions that deliver essential services to children and convening all duty bearers to realize the full rights of Iraqi children. Via a network of staff and partners, UNICEF’s programmes improve basic health services, safeguard quality education, develop water and sanitation systems, protect children from abuse, violence, and exploitation, and meet the needs of the most deprived and vulnerable. For more information about UNICEF and its work for the children of Iraq, please visit: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/iraq.html or www.unicef.org/mena.
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