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Kirkuk, Iraq — According to official data, the increase in violence in Iraq has displaced about 1.8 million people since January 2014. Almost half have found shelter in schools, camps or in abandoned buildings in Iraqi Kurdistan. However, the situation remains very precarious for hundreds of thousands of people.
According to a statement sent to Agenzia Fides by the NGO Doctors Without Borders, it is estimated that Dohuk Governorate alone gives shelter to more than 465 000 displaced persons, and local authorities are trying to cope with their changing needs. The poor living conditions, overcrowding and lack of sanitation are seriously threatening the health of these people. Now that the temperatures are beginning to drop, only one camp for displaced people is ready, while two others are nearing completion.
In Dohuk, Doctors Without Borders carry out medical consultations in three mobile clinics. In Zakho, the NGO is preparing to install latrines and showers to reduce the risk of an epidemic. In Central Iraq, the humanitarian situation is increasingly worrying. Hundreds of thousands of people have been blocked in the area due to the conflict and controlled by rebel forces and have very little chance of escape. In Anbar Governorate, severely affected by the conflict, there are more than 370 000 displaced people. The security situation is precarious and this makes humanitarian assistance very difficult. Despite the unstable security situation in Kirkuk, Doctors Without Borders medical activities continue in two points of the city: in a mosque and a church. This month alone, two doctors and two nurses carried out more than 600 visits.
In Anbar province, the NGO supports the main hospital in Heet where more than 700 medical visits are carried out every week. This is an area where since October 2, heavy fighting erupted between the fighters of the Islamic State and the Iraqi army. Heet, which is home to over 100,000 displaced people, to this day was one of the last safe havens for people fleeing violence in Anbar.