Responding to the overnight announcement by the Government of Iraq that it has launched a major push to retake the city of Tal Afar from ISIS, Oxfam’s Deputy Country Director in Iraq Haissam Minkara said:
“Traumatised families who have risked their lives to escape the fighting in Tal Afar face soaring summer temperatures and harsh conditions as they seek help. Whilst most families are being taken to existing camps, thousands are also sheltering in remote villages or informal settlements in the desert where temperatures reach up to 50 degrees Celsius. People urgently need a safe place to sleep, food and clean drinking water.
“The Government of Iraq must ensure that all troops involved in the offensive uphold the Prime Minister’s commitment to put civilian protection at the heart of their military operations and allow all civilians to reach safety and assistance without discrimination.
“Oxfam also calls on all parties to the conflict to take all necessary measures to avoid harming civilians who stay in the city and protect civilian areas and infrastructure – including avoiding the use of explosive weapons with wide area affect.”
Oxfam Australia’s humanitarian policy advisor Rebecca Barber said Oxfam welcomed the Australian Government’s commitment of $110 million over three years in humanitarian assistance for Iraq, announced in late April.
“It is essential that civilians forced to flee the fighting in Tal Afar are treated with respect and supported to get on with their lives as soon as possible,” Ms Barber said.
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Donations to support Oxfam’s emergency responses in Mosul and around the world can be made online at oxfam.org.au/iraq or by calling 1800 034 034.
Notes to editors:
Oxfam is supporting displaced people around Tal Afar with life-saving food and water both in camps and in communities that have been recently retaken and where families are seeking shelter.
Oxfam is also supporting civilians who fled the fighting in Mosul. Since the campaign to retake Mosul began, Oxfam has assisted more than 300,000 people affected by the conflict. Oxfam provides life-saving food, water, and protection in camps and neighbourhoods throughout Mosul district. Its work to rehabilitate the Gazlani water plant has established the first native source of clean water in western Mosul city.
View and download photos of Oxfam’s humanitarian work around Mosul: https://wordsandpictures.oxfam.org.uk/pages/search.php?search=%21collection33376&k=4a35d89f0b