The violence in the Iraqi town of Falluja has claimed at least 600 lives and injured around 1200 people so far. Thousands of families have fled the town during a temporary ceasefire.
An estimated one third of Falluja’s population have now left. The displaced families are either living in makeshift camps on the outskirts of town, or have been sheltered by relatives or generous strangers in Baghdad and surrounding villages.
Fear in Falluja
Since April 5th Falluja’ s residents have been mainly confined to their homes, often for days, restricting their access to food, water and medicine.
Movement around the town is dangerous due to street battles, crossfire or bombings. Markets and bakeries have closed, increasing the effect of food shortages on the population of 280,000.
Hospital Blood Appeal
There is extensive damage to buildings in Falluja, resulting in many civilian casualties. Hospitals are appealing for blood donations, drugs and basic equipment as they struggle to cope with the numbers of injured.
Islamic Relief (IR) was one of the few aid agencies allowed into Falluja with emergency relief. A five-member team entered the troubled town on Friday 9th April with 3 truckloads of humanitarian aid. The convoy also included an ambulance carrying ten volunteer doctors and nurses.
The staff from IR’s Baghdad office distributed the food, water, medicines, and medical equipment such as wound dressings and blood transfusion kits. The aid included donations from other organisations such as Mercy Malaysia, Intersos and Premiere Urgence.
Heavy firing on Friday night meant that the team was unable to leave Falluja as planned. Instead the IR trucks drove out the next morning, transporting 30 escaping families to safety.
Aid from Baghdad
In Baghdad people are flocking to mosques to donate blood, as well as blankets and bags of food for Falluja. Islamic Relief’s offices have also been inundated with supplies donated by ordinary people, and medicines from local pharmacies.
Falluja’s displaced families sheltering in Baghdad have also received help from IR including food, water, clothes, blankets, sleeping mats, and hygiene and kitchen kits.
Despite the dangerous security conditions, Islamic Relief staff continue to respond to the needs of the people affected by the violence in Falluja. The Iraqi people urgently need your support. Please donate online now.