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Iraq: Red Crescent Society Aiding Internally Displaced Iraqis

A tent camp erected by the Red Crescent Society for Shi'ite refugees south of Baghdad (epa) Iraqi Red Crescent President Sa'id Isma'il Haqqi told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) in an exclusive interview in Baghdad on April 17 that there are now some 10,000 families displaced in camps inside Iraq due to the ongoing civil conflict.

Sa'id Isma'il
Haqqi: We provide humanitarian aid and food items. In coordination with the Council of Ministers and the ministries in charge, we work on setting up camps that would meet health and security standards and provide comfort.

RFI: Have any of the camps been already set up?

Haqqi: We already have many camps throughout Iraq, in 14 governorates [out of Iraq's 18 governorates].

RFI: There has been a sharp rise in the displacement cases in recent weeks.

Haqqi: On March 22, the number of the displaced was 3,400 families, with each family made up of seven to 11 people on average. Between March 22 and April 15, the number of the families [displaced] jumped to 9,900, nearing 10,000 families. This is more than a triple rise.

RFI: Can you give us an idea of the geographic and demographic distribution of the displacement cases?

Haqqi: Yes. The most cases of displacement are in Baghdad and its neighborhoods, in addition to southern governorates: Wasit, Al-Najaf, Karbala, and Maysan. The only governorates free of displacement cases are the governorates of Kurdistan Region [Dahuk, Irbil, and Al-Sulaymaniyah].

RFI: Does it mean that the displacement occurs from Baghdad southward?

Haqqi: Depending on the area. If there is a Shi'ite majority, Sunnis flee from them to [predominantly] Sunni areas such as Abu Ghurayb, Al-Fallujah, and Al-Ramadi. If Shi'a are the minority, they resettle to such places like Sadr City, Ubaydi, Al-Najaf, and Karbala.

RFI: What has been done for improving the services provided to the displaced?

Haqqi: The Council of Ministers has ordered the Finance Ministry to start funding these projects. The ministries of Migration and Displacement, Health, Interior, and Defense have also been included. They will hopefully provide something specific within the next days, a complex plan that would first of all stop the displacement. At the same time, we want to be able to give the displaced people what they deserve for living their lives in peace and dignity.

(translated by Petr Kubalek)

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