Ramadi crisis deepens with the UN funds running out and food stocks depleting fast, forcing the aid agencies rush for fundraising to help people fleeing the city of Ramadi in central Iraq for the second time in less than a month.
Already 25,000 people have fled Ramadi, the headquarters of Anbar province n Iraq where recent attacks by Islamic State (ISIS) and the Levant (ISIL) triggered panic and mass exodus from the city. Most of the people are moving to Baghdad, and the second such major migration within a month is doubling the burden on the aid agencies.
“Nothing is more important right now than helping the people fleeing Ramadi. They are in trouble and we need to do everything possible to help them,” said Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country appealing for donations and humanitarian assistance.
Thousands of people had to sleep in the open, he said. So far, the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have responded with the WFP distributing food and rations in several cities for the internally displaced persons (IDPs).
The UNICEF is distributing emergency kits, while the WHO has sent mobile health teams and ambulances and the UNHCR is sending equipment for temporary camps. The UNICEF is also providing mobile latrines, showers and hygiene items to IDP camps, she said.
As the UN agencies are providing aid for more than 2.5 million displaced persons and refugees already each month, funding for these programs is nearly exhausted and in one month’s time from now, 56 health programs will be shut down and a month later, that is by July 2015, the food supplies will dry up, she warned.
“Abandoning the victims of violence is unthinkable; more has to be done,” Ms. Grande said. In fact, these victims turn out to be potential anti-social elements, if left uncared for posing a major threat to the peace and security of life across the world as 9/11 incident showed.
So, the United Nations is gearing up to launch a humanitarian appeal for Iraq on 4 June in Brussels. Last month, the UN and many NGOs have provided life-assistance to more than 130,000 people who fled Ramadi following ISIL attacks in April.