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Tuesday 23 October 2012

Winter conditions threaten lives of Syrian refugees in Iraq
Winter conditions threaten lives of Syrian refugees in Iraq Syrian 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 Duhok.

The camp which is located 60 kilometres 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 now growing over the imminent threat of winter weather to these refugee camps.

In a statement on Tuesday 23 October Kurdish Foreign Minister Falah Mustafa stated that: ‘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 much 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 Rebecca Novell (UK) acknowledges how well established the Domiz camp is and talks of the need for winterised shelter.

The SRT also met with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Head of Field Office, Fatima Eldiasty who echoed the need for winterised tents and solar lamps ahead of the oncoming winter months. Temperatures in the region regularly drop to around 0 degrees Celsius between November and March and the bespoke 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.
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