Dozens of civilians are still losing their lives on a daily basis in parts of Iraq. During the month of May, the ICRC continued to respond to the emergency needs of the population. 19-06-2009 Operational update
In May, the Iraqi Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Health of the Kurdistan Regional Government and the ICRC signed a memorandum of understanding which led to the launching of a programme to strengthen emergency services in Iraq. The two-year programme focuses on training around 600 doctors and nurses from all over Iraq in the management of trauma, control of infection and teamwork. It involves senior ICRC medical personnel based in Suleimaniya and Najaf governorates. "We hope that this joint initiative will help improve the quality of emergency services provided in Iraq," said Pascal Ollé, the ICRC health coordinator.
As part of its activities to promote international humanitarian law and raise awareness of the ICRC’s mandate and work in Iraq, the organization hosted several round table discussions with senior officials, religious leaders, Imams, professors and students in Erbil in late May.
Visiting detainees and helping them maintain contact with their families
The ICRC continues visiting people detained under the authority of the Iraqi central government, the US led Multi-National Forces-Iraq (US/MNF-I) and the Kurdistan regional government to monitor their conditions of detention and the manner in which they are treated.
In May, the ICRC:
- visited detainees held at Camp Cropper in Baghdad by the US/MNF-I authorities;
- for the first time visited detainees held at the First Brigade Prison in Baghdad (Ministry of the Interior);
- visited Kadhemiya Maximum Security Prison in Baghdad (Ministry of Justice);
- conducted a follow-up visit to Tobji Juveniles Prison in Baghdad (Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs);
- visited detainees in Fort Suse Prison, in Suleimaniya (Ministry of Justice) as well as four other detention facilities in Erbil, Dohuk and Suleimaniya governorates.
The ICRC and the Iraqi Red Crescent Society also help detainees to stay in touch with their families through the exchange of Red Cross messages and phone calls. In May alone, more than 12,570 Red Cross messages were exchanged between detainees and their families. The ICRC also provides financial assistance to families to visit their detained relatives. Families made more 2,800 visits to detainees in Camp Bucca.
Assisting the most vulnerable groups
The ICRC provides relief assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled their homes because of the armed conflict.
- More than 40,000 IDPs in Ninewa, Suleimaniya, Diyala and Baghdad governorates received food and hygiene products monthly, as well as essential household items, such as kitchen sets, buckets, thermos flasks and jerrycans.
- About 100 households headed by women in Adhamiya, in Baghdad, were provided with food parcels and rice.
- Several pilot projects aimed at helping households headed by women earn an income got under way in Baghdad and Najaf governorates..
- The ICRC issued 73 travel documents to allow Palestinian refugees from Al-Waleed Camp (Anbar governorate) to be resettled in a third country with the UNHCR’s assistance.
Improving water supplies and health care
With the beginning of the hot season, the consumption of water has increased. As the current water supply is insufficient to meet existing needs, the ICRC is continuing to support the repair and improvement of infrastructure, and helping address emergency water needs.
In May, it
- supplied and installed new pumps to improve the treatment and delivery of water from Abu Tiban Water Treatment Pant in Anbar governorate, which serves around 65,000 people;
- cleaned pits and replaced submersible pumps in six sewage stations in Basra city;
- completed the installation of a new compact unit in Sergtkan, in Erbil governorate, serving about 10,000 beneficiaries.
Water was delivered by truck to:
- Qalawa Quarter IDP camp, which shelters around 360 people in Suleimaniya governorate;
- 4,500 IDPs in Sadr city, Al-Rashad Psychiatry Teaching Hospital, Al-Imam Ali Teaching Hospital and Al-Yarmouk Teaching Hospital, in Baghdad.
The ICRC also improved water and sanitation at hospitals and primary health care centres.
In May the organization completed:
- the repair of the mechanical incinerator in Al-Yarmouk Teaching Hospital in Baghdad;
- the water and sanitation system and electromechanical repairs in Al-Suaidah health care centre;
- the rehabilitation of Qal’at Sukkar health care centre in Thi-Qar governorate;
- and connected Al-Huwair primary health care centres, in Basra governorate to the water-supply system.
Promoting international humanitarian law
In line with its mandate, the ICRC promotes international humanitarian law and works to ensure respect for it.. In May seminars and presentations on this body of law were organized for different audiences in Baghdad and Erbil.
Source: ICRC | Iraq: ICRC activities in May 2009