WHO responds to deteriorating humanitarian situation in Iraq

WHO: Humanitarian Health Action [to 21 June 2014]

WHO responds to deteriorating humanitarian situation in Iraq
16 June, 2014
Excerpt; Editor’s text bolding
WHO is working with local and international partners in Iraq to meet the urgent health needs of populations affected by the ongoing crisis.
The humanitarian situation in Iraq has deteriorated dramatically in the last few days, especially in the regions of Ninewa, Salaheddin and Diyala provinces. More than 500 000 people are estimated to have fled their homes in Mosul and surrounding areas. An estimated 100 000 have entered Erbil and 200 000 have fled to Dohuk. Almost 25 000 are seeking shelter in schools and mosques in Mosul City, many with no access to drinking- water, as the main water station for the area was destroyed by bombing, and food shortages are being reported. As the fighting continues, hundreds of thousands more are stranded at checkpoints with no belongings or money for housing, food, water or medical care. Accurate figures of casualties are unavailable but stand in the hundreds.
WHO is concerned about the health situation, which is expected to deteriorate given increasing numbers of people requiring humanitarian assistance and the difficulties faced in channelling human resources and logistics from Baghdad to affected areas.
Immediate and critical health risks of concern to WHO include the spread of measles, which is endemic in Mosul and could potentially lead to outbreaks, especially in overcrowded areas where internally-displaced persons are located. The spread of polio is also a high risk as new cases were reported in the country earlier this year as a result of the Syria crisis.
To monitor disease outbreaks, WHO has strengthened its disease early warning alert and response system in Kurdistan and Mosul. WHO is also launching emergency polio and measles vaccination activities for internally-displaced persons with the directorates of health in Dohuk and Erbil….