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Filling the gap in northern Iraq

05-05-2003 Feature

Relying on pre-war stocks and occasional donations, the old people's home in Mosul was about to run out of food - until the ICRC brought in two months' worth of supplies for the 26 residents. Bernt Apeland reports.

 


  Bringing in the food 
 

Like everyone else in the city, the residents of this home are facing post-conflict chaos, insecurity and hardship. In the absence of civil authorities, regular supplies and services are absent, people have not been paid since March and the price of food, gas and fuel has skyrocketed.

" What we see here in Mosul and in other areas that used to be controlled by the government of Iraq is first and foremost an institutional crisis, " says Giuseppe Renda, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in northern Iraq. " And, as always, it is the most vulnerable groups such as the elderly, orphans and the sick who are the most affected.

 

  There's no place like the home 
 

" The most urgent humanitarian need is now to re-establish security and to get the civil administration back in place. In the meantime there is definitely a need for the ICRC and the humanitarian community to fill the gap in supplies and services that the social institutions taking care of these groups now are experiencing. "

In many ways the residents of this home are fortunate. No-one was injured, they were not looted and the management had prepared some stocks in the build-up to the conflict. But once these had gone, there was no knowing where the next meal would have come from.