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Iraq: Thousands displaced from Talafar by fighting

Report, IRIN
12 September 2005

BAGHDAD, 11 Sep 2005 (IRIN) - Thousands of families are fleeing the
northern Iraqi city of Talafar, aid workers confirmed, as Coalition
forces conduct a military operation against insurgents.

According to the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS), the situation is
critical and hundreds of families are moving day and night to
temporary camps donated and prepared by the aid organisation.

`We need urgently supplies because we have already run out,` Ferdous
al-Abadi, spokeswoman for the IRCS, said.

Heavy bombardment and artillery by gun-ship helicopters as well as
street fighting could be seen in the al-Saray area of the city,
Iraqi officials said.

The operation in the city, some 80 km east of Mosul city, and near
the Syrian border, started on 10 September.

With a population of nearly 400,000 residents, some 50,000 families,
the city had received information that the operation may continue
for a long period and that people should leave within 72 hours from
the start of the operation.

Talafar, one of the largest cities inside Ninewa governorate, has
witnessed insecurity for the last 18 months due to insurgency that
security forces are now trying to quell.

The IRCS called on international humanitarian organisations to help
overcome a shortage of medicine and essential materials caused by
the unexpected and tragic stampede in a Baghdad district last week.

Food cans, emergency first aid kits, blood bags, body bags,
blankets, bed sheets, and stretchers, painkillers and anaesthetics
are desperately needed, al-Abadi said.

Based on the last humanitarian report on 10 September, the IRCS said
nearly 3,000 families were already displaced in the area between
Mosul and Talafar in a village called Abu Maria (Al-Nakhwa).

The camp is 20 km east of Talafar and has a capacity for 500
families only, but the number is expected to increase to 5,000

The camp at present has 40 toilets, 20 water tanks (with a capacity
of 1,000 - 1,500 litres each) as well as a medical centre for first
aid and emergency procedures.

`The IRCS will be able to provide relief items for 25,000 families
when supported by other cooperating organisations, but we need
assistance soon and we expect more than 20, 000 families to flee the
city in the coming 48 hours,` al-Abadi added.

A few cases of diarrhoea in children were reported in the camps,
Ministry of Health officials said, maintaining that they would give
full assistance for those who have left the city in search of a more
secure place.

A relief convoy was sent to the city on Saturday morning, but
according to staff from the IRCS, it was not enough to serve the
needs of the population.

This Item is Delivered to the `Asia-English` Service of the UN`s
IRIN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect
the views of the United Nations. For further information, free
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