The United Nations announced that the number of displaced persons from northeast Syria to Iraq reached 7000 last week, most of whom took refuge in Bardrash camp in Dohuk, Iraqi Kurdistan, while others joined their families who had earlier immigrated to Iraq.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which documented the displacement of 7100 people, who crossed the border from Monday to Tuesday morning, stated that three out of four refugees are women. Among the displaced persons, there were also unaccompanied children. Some refugees, especially children, need psychosocial assistance because of the state of panic they experienced during the bombings.
The UNHCR said in a statement on Tuesday that although there are registration and reception centres as well as supply stores and water, electricity and sanitation networks in Bardrash camp, the increase in the camp's guests requires the expansion of systems and the provision of services to more refugees in need.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) indicated that the military operation launched by Turkey on 9 October had had significant repercussions on the humanitarian situation inside the country. Nearly two weeks after the start of the offence, more than 176.000 Syrians, including 80.000 children, have been displaced and necessary civilian infrastructure has been damaged. Thus, not only the Allouk water station has been partially destroyed, but also power lines and at least four health facilities were also vandalised. In this light, the need for humanitarian aid continues to grow.
OCHA confirmed that the Allouk water pumping station serving 400.000 people in Al-Hasakah and the surrounding refugee camps was disrupted for ten days. A team from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) led the repair and restoration efforts with the help of experts from the water and electricity directorates. Thus, the station resumed pumping water to about half of the affected areas so far while the remaining half will have access to water in the coming days and hours. The SARC team was also able to complete two successive frontline missions to repair electricity and water networks.
The UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria, Imran Riza, said on his return to Damascus from north-eastern Syria that facilitating the task of the relief teams would significantly contribute to preventing a more significant humanitarian problem in those areas, noting: "During my recent tour in the region, I have met displaced families in collective shelters and in the Arisha camp, which has been home mostly to women and children for years, in addition to some others who arrived not too long ago. I was shocked by their condition of extreme vulnerability. Some of them have been displaced more than once from one place to another, while many others have fled without taking any of their belongings. The majority of those refugees left without having a safety net to rely on."
He continued: "Despite the assistance provided by the United Nations, there is an urgent need to increase the volume of humanitarian aid and to provide protection and care for those affected."
Despite the challenges of safety and safe humanitarian access, the United Nations and its partners are increasing their life-saving assistance, with full food rations being planned for 580.000 people in Raqqa and Al-Hasakah governorates. Humanitarian organisations continue to provide essential services, such as health care and water. As winter approaches, preparations are underway, and the focus is on the most vulnerable groups in displacement camps and newly displaced people who are entirely dependent on humanitarian aid, the statement said.
Riza stressed that the United Nations and humanitarian actors are committed to persisting and providing vital humanitarian assistance to people in need in north-eastern Syria. He urged the warring parties to provide a safe environment to facilitate the work of the relief teams and welcomed all efforts to halt the escalation.
It is worthy of mentioning that about three million people live in north-eastern Syria, while there were 228.000 Syrians who had taken refuge in the past eight years in Iraq, before the last batch of transit arrivals in Bardrash camp.