Irbil, Iraq, October 16, 2017 — As clashes reach the city of Kirkuk, Wendy Taeuber, the International Rescue Committee’s country director in Iraq, said:
“Once again the lives of innocent Iraqi civilians are at risk from conflict. The large numbers of people fleeing Kirkuk today for the cities of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah demonstrates the real fear people have that they will get caught up in any fighting.
It is of the upmost urgency that all those involved in the fighting do everything within their power to protect civilians and ensure that humanitarian organizations can continue supporting those most in need in Kirkuk and in the displacement camps outside of the city.
As the joint effort to regain territory from ISIS nears its end, the people of Iraq must be supported to rebuild their lives in peace. A peaceful resolution that includes all citizens must be pursued for the contested areas of Iraq, with all sides refraining from any escalation of violence.”
The International Rescue Committee has 14 years of experience of supporting people displaced by fighting across Iraq. It has seen time and again how families affected by the conflict have had their lives and livelihoods upended and their futures placed in jeopardy. In and around Kirkuk, the IRC has been supporting thousands of people that have fled the battle to retake the city of Hawija from ISIS. While the current crisis continues it will be extremely difficult for the IRC to continue to support this vulnerable population.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.