(Baghdad, 20 August 2017): Thousands of civilians are expected to flee from Telafar and surrounding communities during the Iraqi military operation to retake these areas from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“Thousands of people are fleeing Telafar for safety,” said Lise Grande, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq. “Families are trekking for 10 to 20 hours in extreme heat to reach mustering points. They are arriving exhausted and dehydrated.”
“More than 30,000 people have already fled the district,” said Ms. Grande. “We don’t know how many civilians are still in the areas where fighting is occurring, but we are preparing for thousands more to flee in coming days and weeks. Conditions are very tough in the city. Food and water are running out, and people lack the basic necessities to survive.”
“Nothing is more important than protecting civilians during the conflict,” said Ms. Grande. “We are deeply worried about the extreme risks that families are facing. Everything has to be done by the parties to the conflict to avoid civilian casualties and ensure people have the assistance they are entitled to under international humanitarian law.”
“The Government is leading the humanitarian operation, providing transport and aid. Humanitarian partners are helping to cover gaps by providing life-saving assistance at mustering points and supporting families when they reach emergency sites and camps,” said Ms. Grande.
As of 20 August, less than 50 percent of the funding requested in the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for Iraq has been received.
“Humanitarian partners urgently need additional resources,” said Ms. Grande. “We can’t help the people who need help the most if we don’t receive additional financial support. Civilians in Telafar have suffered so much. They urgently need support.”