BAGHDAD/NEW YORK 3 November 2016 –20,700 people have been displaced since the operation to retake Mosul started on 17 October. UNICEF estimates that 9,700 of them are children in urgent need of assistance.
As these children and families arrive at the screening sites, UNICEF is there to meet them.
“I met mothers and children who were so relieved to have come out alive; it was clear that they had gone through so much,” said Pernille Ironside, UNICEF’s Chief of Field Operations in Iraq, following a visit to Nargizlia screening site.
Many of the new arrivals were coming in dusty, exhausted and uncertain about what was going to happen next. Some were barefoot.
UNICEF reached out to the families, checking on the condition of their children and finding out if any of them were missing.
Upon arrival, families receive clean drinking water and snacks that include a nutritional supplement for children.
Children aged 6 months to 15 years old are immediately immunized against polio and measles by a UNICEF-supported four-person local government team. For many it was the first time they had been immunized in the past two years.
Families spend up to half a day in the screening site before being transferred to an emergency camp where they are assigned shelter.
There, UNICEF ensures that water, showers and clean latrines are available. Children are screened for malnutrition, and treated accordingly, and UNICEF supported mobile teams also provide psychological care for children.
UNICEF is also preparing temporary learning spaces and recreational activities for children in the camps.
While many people have fled and are staying in camps, others have chosen to remain in their newly retaken villages. UNICEF is adapting its response to reach all populations in need.
In October, UNICEF delivered bottled water and hygiene supplies for more than 1,500 families, and vaccinated children against polio in two newly retaken communities. Conditions for both displaced and local children and families in these communities are very poor, with families in desperate need of clean water and other essential supplies.
“As the situation continues to unfold, it is important that we remain nimble and that we adapt our response to best assist children and families who have been through so much over these past years,” Ironside said.
UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. UNICEF has been operating for 70 years.
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Aedín Donnelly, Communications and Media Manager for UNICEF Ireland | email@example.com | Tel: +353 1 809 0281 | Mob: +353 85 1395272