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WHO responds to deteriorating humanitarian crisis Iraq

world health organization


by Joseph Earnest June 18, 2014   


Newscast Media BAGHDAD—The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with local and international partners in Iraq to meet the urgent health needs of populations affected by the ongoing crisis.


More than 500,000 residents have fled Mosul and the surrounding areas, seeking shelter in schools and mosques, many with no access to drinking- water, as the main water station for the area was destroyed by bombing, and food shortages are being reported. As the fighting continues, hundreds of thousands more are stranded at checkpoints with no belongings or money for housing, food, water or medical care.

Immediate and critical health risks of concern to WHO include the spread of measles, which is endemic in Mosul and could potentially lead to outbreaks, especially in overcrowded areas where internally-displaced persons are located. The spread of polio is also a high risk as new cases were reported in the country earlier this year as a result of the Syria crisis.

"The impact of the unfolding armed conflict in Mosul and neighbouring districts on the health of affected population cannot be underestimated. These developments are expected to result in critical health consequences," said WHO Representative in Iraq Dr Syed Jaffar Hussain. "The response to the health needs of those affected by the crisis requires concerted actions from all partners."

WHO's response to the crisis will focus on: coordination among health actors, including local health authorities, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society and nongovernmental organizations; trauma care (including mental health); outbreak control, protection of hospitals and health personnel; ensuring the continuation of the supply chain for medicines and medical supplies; gap-filling in water, sanitation and hygiene activities, maternal and child health activities and key public health functions.

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