NEW YORK/ERBIL, Iraq, 27 June 2014 – Homeless, scared and destitute – this is the reality for many children displaced by the last two weeks of violence in Iraq, UNICEF said today.
“The displaced families I met all tell the same story of fear and uncertainly,” said Marzio Babille, UNICEF Representative in Iraq, speaking after visiting Tel Keif, a town several kilometres north of Mosul. “Children were visibly terrified. People who survived some of Iraq’s darkest years were reliving nightmares they thought they would never have to go through again. Many said fighting and reports of abductions and summary executions put them on the run.”
In addition to the psychological impact on children, UNICEF is also concerned about the risk of disease outbreaks in the hot summer months.
From the onset of this latest round of violence, UNICEF has delivered 100,000 litres of drinking water, 5,000 food parcels and 3,500 hygiene kits – which benefited more than 50,000 children. A four-day immunization campaign has just been completed, reaching nearly 6,000 children with polio and measles vaccines.
As humanitarian efforts scale up, UNICEF is deeply concerned about the situation of children in areas that remain beyond the reach of humanitarian organizations due to insecurity.
There are also alarming reports of children being drawn into the fighting, in blatant disregard for their safety and well-being and in breach of international humanitarian law. UNICEF repeats its call to all parties to uphold their obligations to protect children.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For further information please contact: Najwa Mekki, UNICEF New York, Tel: +1 212 326 7448, Mobile: +1917 209 1804, firstname.lastname@example.org