Tuesday 23 October 2012
Winter conditions threaten lives of Syrian refugees in IraqSyrian refugees in their current shelter camps in Iraq. Photograph by Rebecca Novell
The ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) working to deliver aid to families in northern Iraq yesterday visited the Domiz refugee camp near Duhuk.
The camp, which is located 60 kilometers from the Syria/Iraq border, has seen a huge influx of families arriving each day since conflict erupted in Syria. The Kurdistan region of Iraq continues to welcome Syrian Kurdish refugees but concerns are growing over the imminent threat of winter weather to these refugee camps.
In a statement on Tuesday, October 23, Kurdish Foreign Minister, Falah Mustafa stated: “This is an international crisis and it is affecting the entire Middle East and the broader region. There are already many shortages but these will become more critical as winter sets in.”
The SRT met with the camp manager from Directorate of Displacement and Migration (DDM) to discuss possible uses for ShelterBox disaster relief tents and to gauge the latest figures on how many families are now residing in the camp. According to records, there are now around 15,000 people living in the camp and around 200 new people continue to arrive every day.
Reporting back from the camp in this first video diary installment, SRT member, Becs Novell (UK) acknowledges the established Domiz camp and talks about the need for winterized shelter.
The SRT also met with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Head of
Field Office, Fatima Eldiasty, who echoed the need for winterized tents and solar lamps before the oncoming winter months. Temperatures in the region regularly drop to around 0 degrees Celsius between November and March. The thermal liners designed for the ShelterBox disaster relief tents will provide a much needed level of warmth for families who have fled devastating conflict in their home country.
The first shipment of ShelterBoxes is due to arrive in Erbil today. From Erbil, they will then be transported up to the camp in the Northern Kurdistan region, where the SRT will begin distribution in partnership with Barzani Charity Foundation and a team of volunteers.