Round-up: Updates from Palestine and Iraq

The Round-up offers a weekly sample of what our sister Red Cross Societies are working on around the world.

With decades of experience in providing psychosocial support, the Palestine Red Crescent Society has become a regional leader in this often neglected area of humanitarian assistancePALESTINE: With decades of experience in providing psychosocial support, the Palestine Red Crescent Society has become a regional leader in this often neglected area of humanitarian assistance. In 2015, the National Society provided psychosocial support to 46,000 in Palestine, about half of whom were women.  The Red Crescent focuses its efforts on people affected by emergencies – before, during and immediately after a crisis – as well as the staff and volunteers who work with them. The National Society has established a psychosocial support resource centre to provide technical expertise and resources across the region. One of the goals is to train 50 volunteers to contribute to international level. There are already 25 fully trained volunteers that can communicate in Arabic, English and at least one other language.

IRAQ: Recent clashes in Iraq’s northern governorate of Nineveh have left at least 50 people dead, and led to a growing number of people fleeing the region to safer parts of the country. In the first days, more than 360 families found refuge in Al Makhmour city in Erbil province. The journey for these families was not easy, with many walking long distances to reach safety. In advance of this population movement, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society had plans in place to respond to the expected wave of displacement, including how to manage large numbers of families coming in to Erbil. Shelter was arranged in schools and other public places dedicated for this purpose, and Red Crescent volunteers provided relief items and health services to those in need.  The 360 families that arrived in Al Makhmour in the initial days were provided with relief and other support by the Red Crescent. The number of families assisted has steadily increased over recent days, now reaching over 600 families. The organization continues to be on alert, gearing up its teams and resources to meet the needs of the displaced.  The ongoing unrest in Iraq has led to a nationwide humanitarian crisis, with an estimated 3.3 million internally displaced people and at least 200,000 Syrian refugees in the country. These vulnerable people primarily rely on relief aid to cover their basic needs. The Red Crescent is at the forefront of humanitarian operations across the country, providing vital relief aid, shelter, health, psychosocial and development services in communities. The Red Crescent has also been caring for Iraqi refugees living in neighbouring countries such as Jordan and Lebanon.
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