There is a common perception that the armed conflict in Iraq is largely over. However, widespread violence and a lack of respect for human life continue to affect the Iraqi people. Despite the decrease in the number of deaths and injuries this year compared with 2006 and 2007, violence remains a feature of everyday life. Now the concern is that people in Iraq and elsewhere may come to accept this high level of insecurity as somehow "normal" and unavoidable.

Currently, about 500 people are killed on average every month and 2,000 wounded in mass explosions and indiscriminate attacks occurring mainly in Baghdad, Ninewa and Diyala governorates. Civilians are the primary victims of these incidents, which create a general sense of insecurity as anyone could be hit simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Women fear for themselves and their families every time they leave their homes to go to the market or accompany their children to school. Businesses are regularly destroyed or severely damaged in indiscriminate attacks, often leaving many families without their only source of income.

Source: International Committe of Red Cross (ICRC) Field Newsletter Iraq: civilians without protection

Download and read in full:   Newsletter – civilians without protection

13-08-2009  Operational update Iraq: helping the victims of bombings

The ICRC responded to urgent needs arising from indiscriminate attacks that claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians in July, and carried out other humanitarian activities for detainees and the civilian population. This is an update on ICRC activities in Iraq in July 2009.

Overview

Violence against civilians again made headlines during the month of July. A series of severe bombings took place, mainly in Baghdad and the central part of Iraq. The ICRC remains concerned about indiscriminate attacks against civilians.

The organization responded to these attacks by assisting the hospitals that treated most of the injured. Around 12 tonnes of medical materials were delivered to Al Hamdaniya General Hospital, Al Jumhoury Teaching Hospital, Al Salam General Hospital, Talafar General Hospital and Al Mosul General Hospital (Ninewa governorate), Dohuk Emergency Hospital (Dohuk governorate) and Khanaqin General Hospital (Diyala Governorate).

Working with Iraqi Red Crescent Society, the ICRC also distributed hygiene kits and kitchen sets to 900 people affected by the explosion that hit the Shorija quarter of Kirkuk.

Visiting detainees and helping them to maintain contact with their families

The ICRC regularly visits detention facilities to monitor treatment and conditions of detention.

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Many families braved the harsh summer heat and sand storms that hit the country to make the long journey to Camp Bucca, where nearly 1,250 detainees received visits from their relatives in July. The visits were made possible thanks to financial support the families are receiving from the ICRC.

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Providing clean water

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The drought that has affected the country in recent years has also had a severe impact on the population. The ICRC continues to support improvements to water infrastructure to ensure better access to safe water. In July, it:

  • upgraded the water storage capacity of Al Rashad Psychiatric Hospital in Sadr City, Baghdad, which has 1,300 beds;
  • cleaned the water storage tanks and carried out repair work to improve the electricity supply and the operating theatre at Al Sadr Teaching Hospital, which has 426 beds;
  • repaired the water supply of Al Jumhury Teaching Hospital in Mosul, which has 850 beds;
  • completed a drought response project providing water to around 5,000 people in five villages who saw their water source disappear as a result of the drought in Aqra district, in Dohuk governorate;
  • repaired and expanded the Bazwaya primary health-care centre in Ba’asheka sub-district, in Ninewa governorate. The project doubled the capacity of the centre, which can receive now an average of 100 patients per day. The centre serves the 14,000 inhabitants of the villages of Bazwaya and Al Mouafaqiya, and is the nearest health-care facility for around 3,000 internally displaced families living in the Five Forts camp;
  • repaired two incinerators in Basra General Hospital, which has a capacity of 600 beds;
  • improved the quality of the water supplied by the Samara Water Treatment Plant, in Salah Eddin governorate;
  • completed the Senik Quarter water supply project in Mala Omar village, in Erbil governorate, as well as a project in Khanaqin town to repair three wells supplying water to 6,600 people;
  • provided a new caravan, with a women’s consultation section, a pharmacy and two toilets, for the health-care centre in Al Rahma settlement, in Najaf governorate. Around 24,000 people benefit from the services of this centre.

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Source: 13-08-2009  ICRC Operational update:  Iraq : Iraq: helping the victims of bombings

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