Iraq: UN assists thousands after flooding along Tigris River basin

Items such as heaters, jerry cans, blankets and mattresses, shown in this 2009 photo at a UNHCR depot in Erbil, Iraq, are needed for distribution to flood-affected people along the Tigris River Basin. Photo: UNHCR Erbil Office/Iraq

7 February 2013 – The United Nations in Iraq is distributing emergency supplies to hundreds of families in the north-central part of the country after heavy rainfall caused severe damage and displaced an estimated 5,000 people, and warned of the growing risk of water-borne and communicable diseases.

Torrential rains caused the Tigris River that flows from Turkey through Iraq to overflow on 29 and 30 January, flooding Beiji sub-district, located 50 kilometres from the city of Tikrit in Salaheddine province.

“Assessments were conducted in the area over the weekend and 600 non-food items kits were distributed to 600 families, while another 600 families will be assisted within the next days,” said a press release issued today by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Each family receives mattresses, blankets, plastic sheeting, jerry cans and heaters.

The Mission continues to monitor the situation and has established contact with authorities along the Tigris River basin through its network of staff.

The disaster response in headed by UNAMI’s Resident Coordinator and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Development and Humanitarian Affairs, with coordination from the Ministry of Displacement and Migration and local authorities. Additional aid is being distributed by the Iraqi Red Crescent Society.

Local authorities estimate the damage to be at around $230 million. During a special meeting on 4 February, the Council of Ministers granted two million Dinars or the equivalent of $1,600 to each family affected by the flooding.

UN agencies, funds and programmes will in the coming days assess the needs in the province. The flooding could bring an increase in water-borne and communicable diseases. The assessment team will also survey damaged schools.


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