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Iraq’s Displaced Children

Cassandra Clifford



January 13, 2008

The number of internally displaced people in Iraq had increased some 50% from 2006 to 2007, however some claim the numbers may now be falling, but only slowly. There are still millions of Iraqi’s living away from home due to the threat of violence there, leaving some to flea their homes and head to other regions of the country, while others leave Iraq completely, leaving a total of approximately 4 million Iraqi refugees.

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) in September 2007 there where more than 2 million IDPs in Iraq; Northern Provinces 800,900, Central Provinces 740,500, Southern Provinces 714, 600, a total of 2,256,000.  Most of the displaced are woman and children, some estimates put children at more than 30%, children like the ones pictured above, who are playing near abandoned shops housing displaced families in Baghdad’s Kasrah and Atash district.  Displacement leaves children at risk for disease, with lack of adequate healthcare and nutrition, and places many children at risk for abuse.
Just last week the UN announced that it is seeking $261 million to help hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis, which will include both internally and externally displaced persons. For the children outside Iraq one of the biggest goals is education;

"Under the 2008 appeal, we have set a target of getting another 100,000 Iraqi refugee children into school, bringing the total to 200,000 by the end of this year," Mr. Redmond said. "We will also continue direct assistance to vulnerable families, including a programme that provides cash cards for limited monthly withdrawals by female-headed households, widows and people with disabilities and chronic illnesses."

For those children who are displaced with in Iraq getting aid proves to be much more difficult due to continuing insecurities in the country, however the UN has specific programs for IDPs.

"In 2008, we will focus on getting assistance to 400,000 of the most vulnerable of the estimated 2.2 million internally displaced people in Iraq."

A internally displaced family, living in a camp in Suleimaniyah.

In addition to increased efforts by the UN, the

Arab League is to launch massive campaign for Iraqi refugees with UN help, the campaign is to focus mainly on fundraising and public awareness.

"The Iraqi people have suffered extreme hardship. Women, children, entire families have witnessed terrible violence and despair," UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres says in a video message to be used in the campaign. "I appeal to you to support your Iraqi brothers and sisters…. Your voice and helping hand can make a profound difference."

For now it looks like the children of Iraq will continue to suffer with the ensuing violence, and displacement remains one of the largest tragedies of war. For most children the hope of returning home is a distant dream.

Further Information:
Conditions deteriorating for tens of thousands of Iraqi children, UN reports
UNHRC: Statistics on Iraqi’s Around the World, September 2007
Iraqi Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
Map of IDP movement in Iraq
Displacement Due to Recent Violence , April 2006 IOM Iraq IDP
The IDP Crisis in Iraq: National Security Network
Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Tent Camp Assessment Report - October 2007
Iraq: Plight Of Displaced Worsens

:: Article nr. 40089 sent on 14-jan-2008 10:16 ECT


Link: children.foreignpolicyblogs.com/2008/01/14/iraqs-displaced-children/

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