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Figures from the humanitarian disaster in Iraq

The UN refugee agency said on Tuesday that its NGO partners estimated that as many as 35,000 people had managed to reach Iraqi Kurdistan's Dohuk governorate. 'The new arrivals are exhausted, dehydrated and many have suffered sun or heat stroke, with the daily temperatures reaching 40 to 45 degrees Celsius,' UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said in Geneva.

As of now, an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people remain trapped on Sinjar Mountain without food, water or shelter. Access to these families is extremely limited.”

According to the mayor of Zakho, his city of 350,000 people located just a few kilometres from the Turkish border, is hosting some 100,000 displaced people, mainly from Sinjar and Zumar, who have fled there over the past week. The local authorities have opened schools and community buildings to house the displaced, who are also taking shelter under bridges and in unfinished buildings.

Dohuk governorate is now hosting close to 400,000 displaced Iraqis, including Yazidis, Christians, Shabak, Kakai, Armenian and Turkmen minorities – some of whom have endured repeated displacement.”

They are scattered across hundreds of sites. Some are staying with relatives, others are in schools, churches, mosques, parks and shells of apartment buildings without water or electricity."

Between 7,000 to 10,000 people are staying at the Bajet Kandela camp – a former reception centre for Syrian refugees, most of whom passed through there two years ago after crossing the border at Peshkhabour.”

In all, there are more than 1.2 million internally displaced people in Iraq, including an estimated 700,000 in the Kurdistan region, which already hosts some 220,000 Syrian refugees.

Meanwhile, another 10,000 to 15,000 Yazidi Iraqis fleeing Sinjar have arrived in Syria. Most are staying in the Newroz camp near Al Qamishli, run by local NGOs. Other refugees are scattered among various Yazidi villages in Qahtania or urban areas.”


Update:

One UNHCR staff member in Newroz described the situation as a 'humanitarian tragedy' and said 'people arrive in the camp extremely weak, thirsty, traumatized, especially women and children.' Their feet are covered in blisters, having spent days on Mount Sinjar in searing temperatures without food, water or shelter after fleeing for their lives, then walking many hours – in some cases days – to find safety.

A fleet of 20 trucks on Tuesday and Wednesday brought some 5,000 to the camp, which is located near the city of Qamishly. New arrivals tell aid workers about their grave concerns for others of their community weakened from days on the mountain and the long walk to safety.”

Many refugee families have been separated, scattered between Sinjar, Syria and the Kurdistan region of Iraq; some children have been separated from their parents in the chaos. Many refugees say they had to leave behind older people whom they could not carry. Others who made it safely to Newroz backed reports of young girls and women forced to stay behind and being sold. Families say that their young men were killed.

UNHCR is coordinating the UN response in Syria to the Yazidi refugee crisis, which is rapidly scaling up.”

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