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Update No. 96/3 on ICRC activities in Iraq

23-09-1996 Operational Update

 Internally displaced people  

On 9 September, in the continuing hostilities between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), KDP forces seized control of Sulaymaniyah, in northern Iraq. The town had previously been in the hands of the PUK.

An estimated 80,000 civilians in all have fled Sulaymaniyah in the direction of the Iranian border. About half of them are reported to have found refuge in camps on Iranian soil. Others have returned in the meantime, as the situation calmed down.

The ICRC estimates that more than 5,000 people remain displaced on Iraqi territory in areas close to the Iranian border, but its delegates have not yet been able to ascertain their needs. Once conditions allow, delegates will assess the situation of these people and assist them according to their needs. The items will be taken from the stocks of blankets, tents, cooking sets, tarpaulins and soap which were brought to Sulaymaniyah in an ICRC convoy from Baghdad at the end of last week.

 Visits to detainees  

Some 800 people captured during the recent clashes between the KDP and the PUK have been visited and registered by the ICRC since 16 August. Teams of delegates are stepping up their field missions to have access to all detainees and to keep a check on their conditions. When the ICRC receives information that a detainee has been released, the family is contacted to verify it.

 Providing medical assistance  

The ICRC is now moving medical supplies from Baghdad to its three offices in northern Iraq in order to replenish stocks there. Nearly all the materials were used up in recent weeks to treat some 800 wounded people in health structures in the Arbil and Sulaymaniyah areas. In addition, immediately after the fall of Sulaymaniyah, dressing sets were handed out to displaced people heading for the Iranian border.

Since then, ICRC delegates have made several visits to hospitals in the Arbil and Sulaymaniyah region to assess needs in terms of medical care.

 Personnel  

The ICRC has sent two of its eight delegates normally based in Baghdad to northern Iraq, bringing to 16 the number of expatriates in its sub-delegation in Arbil and its offices in Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk. In addition, the ICRC has some 100 locally hired employees in the northern governorates.