UNICEF: 85,000 families, including 40,000 children, fled Fallujah

GENEVA, June 24 (KUNA) — The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on Friday estimated that 85,000 families, including nearly 40,000 children, have fled from inside the city of Fallujah and the surrounding area in Anbar governorate since 23 May.
Most people are fleeing to the camps of Khaldiya, Habbaniyah Tourist City and Ameriyat Al Fallujah. The largest is Ameriyat Al Fallujah camp, 40 km west of Baghdad, with some 45,000 people. Other families are staying with relatives in the area, explained Christopher Tidey, the UNICEF Spokesperson in a press briefing.
UNICEF is concerned about the detention and intense security screening of a reported 8,200 males, more than 1,200 of whom may be minors and some as young as 14 years old. UNICEF staff have noted that many women who are left alone to fend for their families are extremely stressed and are not sure when or if they will see their husbands and sons again, he added.
According to UNICEF staff, the camps are overflowing, and children are caught outside in searing heat, while tensions are increasing over resources such as shelter, food and water. The existing facilities and services at the camps are overstretched, UNICEF and partners are working at full capacity to provide access to life-saving humanitarian assistance.
UNICEF and partners including WFP and UNFPA, have been responding to the immediate needs of newly displaced families within 72 hours of their arrival through its Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM). More than 14,000 RRM kits were distributed between 1 and 20 June, assisting nearly 80,000 people. The kits consist of: safe drinking water, ready to eat food, and hygiene and sanitation supplies.
A space has been set up for children in Ameriyat Al Fallujah camp to provide them with an opportunity to play and be children again. Staff are also able to assess the children and provide the necessary psychosocial support.
More facilities are being set up given the traumatic experiences that these children have had to live through. (end) ta.nfm