Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Internally displaced Iraqis running out of options

Najaf’s al-Manathera camp for internally displaced persons has closed to new arrivals, IRIN reported today. Hundreds of fleeing Iraqis were turned away because the camp is already full.

“It is hard for us to see people getting full assistance inside the camps while we are outside hungry, tired and dirty,” said Um Abir, a displaced mother with four children. “Someone should look after us before we get shot, or die in this terrible hot weather, because we don’t have anywhere to shelter and have to cover our heads with newspaper,” she added.

Authorities running the camp say that they do not have the resources to help any more families and permitting more to enter would just siphon off the resources currently going to the families already residing in the camp. Additionally, they contend that allowing more people into the camp, especially with deteriorating sanitation and health care, would likely increase the rate of disease. A new security fence is being built to ensure that no additional families can enter.

The Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration said that it is looking to establish new camps to help ease the burden on the displaced population. However, securing land for the camps is proving difficult, and officials have been unsuccessful in persuading land owners to allow camps to be set up on their property.

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