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IRIN Middle East | Middle East | IRAQ | IRAQ: Thousands of families still displaced after flooding | Children, Health, Natural Disasters | Breaking News
Friday 3 March 2006
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IRAQ: Thousands of families still displaced after flooding

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

©  Afif Sarhan/IRIN

Recent rains have affected several thousand families

BAGHDAD, 21 Feb 2006 (IRIN) - Nearly 6,000 families forced to leave their homes in the wake of heavy flooding in northern and southeastern Iraq earlier this month remain displaced, mostly due to the destruction of their houses.

“The devastation by heavy rains of hundreds of houses countrywide has worsened the situation and prevented families from going back, forcing them to stay in improvised camps or with relatives in safe areas,” said Ferdous al-Abadi, spokeswoman for the Iraq Red Crescent Society (IRCS).

Nearly 150 houses in Missan governorate and 75 in Salahuddine and Diala governorates have been totally destroyed by the flooding, while more than 900 homes have been partially damaged countrywide, according to the IRCS. Continuous rains, which fell for over two weeks in the first half of February, finally stopped last week.

According to al-Abadi, a total of 7,500 families were displaced in different areas of the country when flooding began on 5 February, with some 1,500 returning to their homes in northern areas where the fall was less heavy. “Around 1,000 families are still staying in camps improvised by the IRCS,” she said, adding that the relief effort had been facilitated by the “good relationship between tribes” in the north of the country.

The IRCS has received supplies – including medicines, food parcels, blankets and heaters – from a number of aid organisations, which are expected to last for a month. Nevertheless, the organisation is also calling on the government to find a speedy solution for people whose homes were destroyed. “We call on the Iraqi government to address the problems of the displaced and offer help,” al-Abadi said.

The Ministry of Displacement and Migration has said that it sent a team to assess the impact of the disaster. “As soon as we have complete information on the impact of the flooding countrywide and the number of destroyed houses, we’ll look for possible ways to help them return to their homes safely,” said Ali Bassam, a senior ministry official.

Flood victims, though, are looking for more than vague reassurances. “In every displacement in Iraq, only aid agencies are helping us,” said Salem Adnan, whose home in Salahuddine was totally destroyed. “The government isn’t doing anything to help, just offering promises.”

Meanwhile, many of the displaced are falling ill with diarrhoea, dehydration and gastro-intestinal problems. “Our hospital has become a centre for the homeless, because children and the elderly are only being treated for simple diseases in the camps,” said Jaffer Ali, a doctor at the main hospital in Ammarah. “It‘s become very dangerous for them due to the bad living conditions there.”


 Theme(s) Children
Other recent IRAQ reports:

Another suspected human case of bird flu, WHO,  1/Mar/06

Local journalists call for increased protection,  28/Feb/06

Government defends use of curfew despite disruptions,  27/Feb/06

Urgent action needed to head off civil war, says ICG,  27/Feb/06

Farmers sceptical about compensation promises,  23/Feb/06

Other recent Children reports:

NEPAL: Young people at increasing risk, 28/Feb/06

AFGHANISTAN: Nationwide polio vaccination drive, 28/Feb/06

ZIMBABWE: Travel costs force students to stay home, 27/Feb/06

COTE D IVOIRE: Summit talks delayed by dispute, 27/Feb/06

WEST AFRICA: IRIN-WA Weekly Round-up 318 covering 18-24 February 2006, 24/Feb/06

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