Close to a million children in Iraq refugee camps face severe water shortages as sandstorms and heatwave hit the Middle East

World Vision has today called for greater funding and support for families displaced across Iraq as temperatures continue to rise. Iraq_heatwave_newsstory.jpg“As temperatures top 50 degrees this past week, we are gravely concerned for the families on the ground, and in particular how the heatwave will make the already difficult living conditions even harder for children,” said Cecil Laguardia, World Vision’s Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) Communications Manager. 

Of the three million people displaced across Iraq, nearly a million of them of them are children. 

“Many of these shelters are tents and caravan, which are basically steel boxes. For families who are fortunate enough to have a cooler, they face the issue of the electricity going off constantly throughout the day. For families who don’t have a cooler, the shelter will get unbearably hot. Yet, being outdoor is hardly an option. I was outside for only a few minutes today and was already sweating profusely. 

“Since late July when the heatwave started, there have been an increasing amount of reports of families and children suffering from dehydration, diarrhea and heatstrokes. Funding is key to help combat the effects of the severe weather we are currently experiencing,” she explained.

The Iraq’s Humanitarian Response Plan released in June by the KRI government and the United Nations warned that 7.1 million people will require water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance, with 4.1 million of them in critical need for the summer. 

If continuously unaddressed, the humanitarian community fears of outbreak of diseases can worsen the already miserable condition in these internally displaced person (IDP) camps.

In Erbil, 45-year old Anwar who lives with his four children in a camp with 113 others families said, “There simply aren’t enough water supplies for all families. The electricity in this camp goes off at least two to three times a day. It’s often the case where there is no power for at least three hours during the day and five hours at night, making it even more difficult for my children to stay hydrated.”

World Vision is currently helping rehabilitate a water facility in Duhok which will improve supply for over 40,000 people in Khanke camp and its host communities. The construction work on the project, in partnership with the Ministry of Water of Duhok, is currently ongoing and is targeted for completion by November 2015. Khanke is home to over 18,000 IDPs mostly coming from Mosul.

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