Iraq: MSF starts medical activities at the Iraq-Syria border for people fleeing NE Syria Conflict

Iraq: MSF starts medical activities at the Iraq-Syria border for people fleeing NE Syria Conflict

As people continue to flee the north east (NE) Syria conflict into Iraq, MSF launched Saturday medical activities at one reception site along the border with Syria and assessed mental health needs in one camp in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Marius Martinelli, Project Manager for MSF said: “Immediately after the fights in NE Syria started, we quickly assessed different locations including reception sites at the Iraq – Syria border, and camps where we learned that refugees were going to be hosted. In these types of assessments, we evaluate the site’s infrastructure, look at the services available, and coordinate with other actors and authorities to determine and implement as rapidly as possible the most relevant activities for the people arriving.

MSF teams are now running two mobile clinics providing primary health care, psychological first aid and nutritional status screening at one reception site as well as assessed Mental-Health needs in Bardarash camp while continuing to prepare in case of a surge in the number of arrivals.

Martinelli added: “In the reception site we work in, people were arriving in relatively acceptable health conditions. So far, we have not noticed any war-wounded, and overall, the nutritional conditions were good in both children and adults. We noticed relatively minor health issues mostly related to people’s long journeys by foot. These include: skin problems, respiratory infections, mild diarrhea and generalized body pain. Most of the people screened by our mental health team on their first day on site presented signs of depression and anxiety”

Indicative of what seems to be endless waves of displacement in this region, Bardarash camp where MSF just started working, was originally opened for people fleeing the IS group in Mosul in 2014. The camp was closed in 2018 as its residents went back to the relatively calm Mosul, only to be reopened last week, this time to host people coming from out of Syria.

More than 5300[1] people crossed the border from Syria to Iraq since the beginning of the conflict with more than more than 500 new arrivals every day for the last six days. Most of them were from Ras-Al-Ayn and Qamishli.

[1] http://www.bcf.krd/english/syrian-refugees-in-kurdistan/

Copyright photo : Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP

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