Iraq: Aid reaches thousands of displaced people in war-ravaged west Ramadi
Baghdad/Geneva (ICRC) - International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) staff distributed aid today to more than 12,000 displaced people surviving in desperate conditions in west Ramadi, central Iraq, having fled fighting in the nearby city of Hit.
“We drove through Ramadi city and witnessed unprecedented levels of destruction. We have not seen anything like this in Iraq before,” said Malek Baklouti, head of the ICRC’s Ramadi office, who oversaw the relief distributions.
“We are also extremely worried about thousands more people fleeing to remote, desert areas with little or no access to food, water, or health care,” said Katharina Ritz, head of ICRC delegation in Iraq. “Regular humanitarian access is crucial in order to quickly help those badly in need of aid.”
Last week, the ICRC also distributed aid to another group of over 12,000 people stranded in the Kilo 18 area, west of Ramadi, amid considerable challenges. “The roads west of Ramadi city are dangerous and difficult as most are heavily contaminated with unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices,” Baklouti added.
The ICRC last operated out of its Ramadi office in May 2015. It delivers aid to remote communities severely affected by the conflict. In 2015, the organisation supplied more than 1.35 million displaced people in Iraq with food and other aid, including 200,000 people from Ramadi and Fallujah.