Contact: Gladys Terichow or Mark Beach, both with Mennonite Central Committee, (011) 98 912 610 6252, email@example.com
Photo: A student at a
About 500,000 Iraqis have fled their homes for other areas inside
In response to the growing humanitarian needs, MCC is sending 4,200 relief kits, 11,000 newborn kits, 22,000 school kits, and 16,000 blankets to be distributed by local humanitarian agencies working with vulnerable families in
The first three containers will be sent in early March from MCC warehouses in
Janzen said the recent movement of people involves people of all religions and ethnicities; however, many are victims of civil strife between Shia and Sunni communities. "Before people were living together in mixed areas, now they are moving to areas of the city where they congregate as ethnic and religious communities," he explained.
This displacement of people, amid the ongoing violence in
"These people need urgent assistance," said Janzen, explaining MCC's local partners are requesting assistance to help them respond to the needs of people who have lost their homes and sources of income.
UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, reports the population movements in
UNHCR also estimates up to 1.8 million people have fled to neighbouring states. Although estimates for the immediate neighbouring states are imprecise, the agency estimates there are up to 700,000 Iraqis in
Many of those outside the country fled over the past decade or more, but now some 2,000 a day are arriving in
The UN agency also reports that many urban professionals have already fled. Doctors, teachers, computer technicians and other skilled people crucial to the country's stability and well-being are leaving.
Janzen said Patriarch Zakka of the Syrian Orthodox Church said about 50 per cent of
MCC has been working with local partners in