The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Wednesday has launched an emergency USD 19-million appeal to support the Iraqi Red Crescent Society in responding to the needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) scattered over the Iraqi governorates.
"Winter season in Iraq is frequently accompanied with a painfully cold weather during which temperatures plummet below zero degrees in many regions and heavy snow covers mountainous areas, subjecting unprepared and ill-equipped IDPs to the risk of acquiring illnesses and other health risks," said the Geneva-based IFRC in a press release.
The appeal will support relief operations focused on providing shelter, winterization kits, food parcels and non-food items to approximately 500,000 IDPs.
The appeal came as a result of a joint assessment of the IDPs' needs carried out by the IFRC, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society and other stakeholders. It mainly targets families in the Irbil and Dohuk governorates in the Kurdish Region of Iraq, where the majority of IDPs are currently living, but also seeks to reach families in the central and southern regions of the country.
The IFRC had allocated resources from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund at the onset of the Iraqi crisis in June 2014 to respond to the emerging needs. However, due to the recent violent events, and with living and weather conditions constantly changing, a growing number of families have become more dependent on humanitarian aid, requiring more support by aid organisations and an increased funding.
Since the fighting erupted, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society has been at the forefront of relief operations in the country thanks to more than 4,000 volunteers who have been mobilised to support the displaced on the ground, evaluating their needs and providing them with basic relief items, first aid and psychosocial support.
"Our staff and volunteers work on an average of eight hours a day to aid those affected by the violence. They have so far distributed more than 991,000 hot meals, 154,000 food parcels, and more than one million liters of bottled water to around 572,000 people in 18 different governorates," said Dr. Yassin Abbas, the President of Iraqi Red Crescent Society.
Dr. Abbas added that despite current challenges, the society has achieved impressive milestones and remarkable successes in its programme implementation. "We will continue to ensure the delivery of quality humanitarian services in Iraq," he said.
The IFRC is the world's largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 189 member National Societies.
Together, IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions.