A woman at a camp for displaced Iraqis carries home a bucket of water from a well. Power shortages limit availability of water in the camp, increasing the hardships of extreme heat.
With daytime temperatures in Erbil and Dohuk Governorates reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit or more in July and August, shortages of electricity and water are making life hard for Iraqis who’ve fled their homes because of conflict.
"There isn't enough water supply for all, especially when the electricity goes off at least two or three times per day," says Anwar, 45, a former musician from Qaraqosh who helps manage a camp in Erbil.
A father of four, Anwar and his family live with 113 families next to the Mar Eliah Catholic Chaldean Church.
The numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq increased from half a million in January 2014 to more than 3 million in July 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration. Erbil and Dohuk Governorates host more than 700,000 IDPs. Consequently, the demand for clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) has become urgent.
Iraq’s Humanitarian Response Plan, released in June 2015, warned that 7.1 million people would need WASH assistance, with 4.1 million of them in critical need through the summer. If water and sanitation needs continue to be unaddressed, the humanitarian community fears disease outbreaks could worsen the already miserable living conditions in IDP camps.
Mjabuli Majela, World Vision’s health program manager in Iraq, says health workers are seeing a seasonal increase in diarrhea among IDPs. With extreme high temperatures and no way to cool off, patients with diarrhea could become dangerously dehydrated.
World Vision rehabilitated the water facility in Mar Eliah Church IDP camp and provided a playground for 200 children living there.
The organization is also helping to rehabilitate a water facility in Dohuk that will improve water supplies for more than 40,000 people in Khanke camp and its host communities.
Construction is under way, in partnership with the Ministry of Water of Dohuk, and is expected to be completed by November 2015. Khanke is home to over 18,000 IDPs; most are from Mosul.
Photo©2015 Cecil Laguardia/World Vision