UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
IRAQ: Aid needed for displaced in Anbar, demonstrators say
BAGHDAD, 21 December 2005 (IRIN) - Some 400 people demonstrated in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Tuesday, calling for more aid for people displaced in the western Anbar governorate, due to ongoing clashes between US forces and insurgents.
Anbar residents, now living with relatives in the capital, and others took to the streets shouting slogans urging the government and international aid agencies to help families in need of vital supplies.
Many don’t have adequate food or shelter and are living in improvised camps and abandoned buildings near the cities of Ramadi and al-Qaim, they said.
“They are human beings, not animals. They need a roof over their heads, food to eat and healthcare,” demonstrator Ibrahim Rabia’a said.
“Instead of discussing who will run the country, the government should open its' eyes to the deteriorating conditions of families who are homeless in Anbar,” he added.
According to the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS), more than 300 families from the war torn governorate remain displaced, afraid to return to a city which could turn violent again.
“We are struggling to help these families due to a lack of resources, and as long as they remain displaced, their situation will deteriorate,” Ferdous al-Abadi, a spokeswoman for the IRCS in Baghdad, noted.
The US military says the security operations, which often include air strikes and began several months ago, are necessary to flush out insurgents and make the areas safe.
Rabia’a, who is a resident of Ramadi and has taken refugee at his parents’ home in the capital, explained that many children in the area were suffering from a lack of health care. He added that families would be subjected to harsh winter weather conditions in the coming weeks.
The government did not react to the protest, but has defended official inaction in the past saying that it has limited resources and manpower.
Themes: (IRIN) Refugees/IDPs
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