Hundreds of thousands of refugees in camps in Iraq remain in an 'acute' situation, according to the aid group CARE International. The organization's Iraq representative has warned the international community not to lose sight of the problem.
"There are 500,000 people living in refugee camps in Iraq and over two million displaced people in the country," said Tulasi Sharma, Care International's country representative in Iraq. Speaking on a visit to Germany, Sharma warned that, even though most of the fighting had now ended in the area, the situation "remains acute" for hundreds of thousands of people.
CARE works across four different camps in the Kurdish-administered north of Iraq and is supporting about 60,000 people with their work, Germany's Catholic news agency (KNA) reports.
Problems returning home
A CARE aid worker, Anica Heinlein, told KNA that the Sinjar region, where many Yazidis live, still faces particular problems of instability. CARE works with many of the displaced Yazidis in the regions of Dohuk and Erbil. Sharma says there has been "little progress" in the Yazidi region. There remains "a lack of infrastructure, food supplies and access to even the most basic medical care," he says.
Despite this, Sharma told KNA there is still hope, and he thinks the Yazidis should be able to return home one day. He said international and national organizations were already making efforts in that direction, but suggested it could take between five and ten years.
The situation in Mosul
The situation in the city of Mosul remains difficult, making it almost impossible to return to some districts. Much of the western side of Mosul was destroyed during fighting, and according to Sharma, there are still no hospitals, schools or any kind of social services available to people in the area. Unexploded bombs and ordinances also present a danger.
CARE says it is trying to improve the situation for displaced people in the north of Iraq. In particular it is focusing on installing clean water supplies and making sure there are adequate rubbish collection facilities. The aid organization has begun training midwives to supplement medical care in the region too.
The long term aim of CARE, explains Sharma, is to work with local aid organizations and train enough people locally to help people in Iraq in the future.