Following the fierce fighting in Fallujah, the US government is today (July 20) holding a pledging conference in Washington with major governments. They aim to raise $861 million to ‘support humanitarian and stabilization efforts in Iraq’.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) states that the use of these funds must put people’s needs first to achieve a stable Iraq.
Almost one in ten Iraqis are displaced (3.3 million people) - half are children. Aerial footage gathered by the International Committee of the Red Cross shows the vastness of the camps for the displaced.
A few weeks ago Kifah Jumaa finally made it out of the besieged town of Fallujah. She now spends her nights struggling to get her children to sleep in the sweltering heat in Amiriyat Al-Fallujah Camp.
“Because of the heat, we cover the children with damp sheets so they can sleep but still they don’t sleep well.” says Jumaa. “We can’t believe we made it out of Fallujah. We were very desperate and hungry. We ate dry bread, cattle feed, barley and beans. You cannot even imagine how we were living. Whatever I say won’t do it justice. We couldn’t feed our children.”
Mohammed Ahmed has been in Amiriyat Al-Fallujah Camp for over a month: “We are living in hell. It’s very hot and dusty. Even at noon, this tent flies over our heads due to sand storms.”
His nephew’s daughter has died in the fighting and many of his family members have been injured.
“We want to live in peace with our families, to stay in our houses and live like everyone else in the world,” Ahmed states. “We have lost all our possessions, our cars and money. We can’t cope with living in this camp anymore.”
In these camps, the conditions often don’t reach a minimum of level of dignity and comfort and whole families find their movements restricted.
Beyond the camps, many are seeking shelter in unfinished and abandoned buildings and informal settlements, while others spend the little they have left on rented accommodation.
As food and financial insecurity grow, many children are forced to work to help generate an income.
Men of all ages continue to face persistent harassment and mistrust with frequent search and arrest operations. Unknown numbers of people are reportedly detained on both sides of the frontlines, and many families are desperately looking for news about detained or missing relatives.
The ICRC is calling on donors and concerned parties to put a greater emphasis on the civilian needs. They need to prioritise access to health care and focus on the needs of the most vulnerable - the elderly, pregnant and lactating women and small infants, as well as unaccompanied children and children out of school.
Location: Amiriyat Al-Fallujah Camp, Iraq
Format: HD H264 mov
ICRC ref: AV506N3
0:00 Various aerial shots of camp
1:22 Various shotf of camp
1:50 Children collecting water
2:11 Kifah walking past the tend
2:14 Various of women washing and drying clothes Close shot, woman drying clothes on the rail
2:32 Children being put to sleep by Kifah
SOUNDBITE Kifah Jumaa, displaced from Fallujah (in Arabic)
2:42 “Because of the heat, we wet the sheets and cover the kids so they can sleep, they wake up a lot and don’t sleep well.
2:50 "We can’t believe that we have left Fallujah
2:55 "We were very desperate from what we saw there in Fallujah, mostly we faced hunger we ate dry bread, cattle feed, barley, and inedible beans.
3:03 Those outside cannot even imagine how we were living, whatever I say, it will never do the truth justice.”
3:20 Various inside Ahmed’s tent
3:47 Injured child
SOUNDBITE Mohamed Ahmed, displaced from Fallujah (in Arabic)
4:12 “We are living in hell, it’s very hot and dusty, even at noon this tent flies over our heads due to sand storms.
4:26 "We want to live in peace, gather around with our families, stay in our houses, and live like everyone else in the world
4:36 We lost all our cars, possessions, and money, and we can’t cope with living in the camps anymore.”
4:43 Various of camp