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Iraq: Civilians at high risk as fighting escalates in Anbar province

08-01-2014 News Release 14/04

Baghdad/Geneva (ICRC) – The consequences for civilians of the escalating violence in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar are a matter of deep concern for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Since 30 December, there has been no letup in the fighting. A large number of civilians are still caught up in Fallujah, where the situation is worsening every day. Hundreds have been forced to leave their homes.


Families fleeing violence in Falluja and Ramadi wait at a checkpoint some 40 km west of Kerbala.© Reuters / Mushtaq Muhammed

 

"We have been receiving reports of food and fuel supplies running short, especially in Fallujah," said Patrick Youssef, head of the ICRC delegation in Iraq. "If power outages continue and medical supplies are not replenished, health-care facilities could soon be unable to provide patients with suitable care."

The ICRC is calling on those involved in the fighting in Fallujah, Ramadi and other areas to spare civilians and to allow and facilitate humanitarian aid to reach the people who need it most. It is also insisting that medical personnel be allowed to perform their tasks in safety.

Despite the difficulties, the ICRC managed to get access to Saqlawiyah this afternoon and delivered food parcels and blankets to displaced families. "We are ready to deliver more life-saving supplies and other humanitarian aid immediately to the areas hardest hit," said Mr Youssef. "But we need to be given easier access and the necessary security guarantees."

For further information, please contact:
Pawel Krzysiek, ICRC Baghdad, tel: +964 790 191 6927
Dibeh Fakhr, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 37 23 or +41 79 447 37 26