Flooding leaves thousands, including children, at risk of water-borne disease in Northern Iraq camps

Erbil, Iraq, 27 November 2018 — Severe rainfall and subsequent flooding has damaged water and sanitation services.

Innocent Kafembe
A family in their home in Airstrip camp. Tents have been damaged and many household items were swept away by the floods.
UNICEF Iraq/2018/Chisholm
09 January 2019

Erbil, Iraq, 27 November 2018 — Severe rainfall and subsequent flooding has damaged water and sanitation services, leaving thousands of people — mostly women and children — at high risk of preventable water-borne diseases in camps in Northern Iraq.

When heavy rains hit Qayyarah, 70km south of Mosul, it caused flooding in Jeddah and Airstrip camps where 90,000 internally displaced live, interrupting water supply, damaging toilets and showers, flooding cesspools and destroying the few personal belongings people had.

There is an urgent need to rehabilitate damaged infrastructure and restore services in order to protect the population from outbreak of water borne diseases, and upcoming winter season.

 The water and sanitation situation is a real concern; many septic tanks and cesspools were submerged and we are seeing entire sections of camps contaminated with sewage. This situation puts people, especially children who are among the most vulnerable, at high risk of disease

Allyson Chisholm
A young girl stands in front of her home in Airstrip camp, Iraq.
UNICEF Iraq/2018/Chisholm

Within the first 48 hours of the flood, UNICEF delivered bottled water, buckets, and hygiene kits that include soap, toothpaste, and sanitary pads to 16,000 of the most affected people, while UNICEF and partners restored the water supply to all camps, and scaled up the desludging of toilets and garbage collection to help with camp cleanup.

A UNICEF funded truck clears a flooded sewer in the aftermath of the floods whilst another one delivers safe drinking water to the families in Jeddah camps.
UNICEF Iraq/2018/Chisholm
School children take a break and to wash their hands and drink the clean water which has been restored in the Jeddah 5 camp, Iraq.
UNICEF Iraq/2018/Chisholm