After Mosul and Tal Afar, the Iraqi Security Forces are getting ready to liberate Hawija, one of the Islamic State’s last strongholds in Iraq, occupied since June 2014.
An estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people are currently living in Hawija District and many of them will likely try to escape when the fighting starts.
Having previously provided emergency medical assistance to populations affected by the battles of Mosul and Tal-Afar, WAHA International stands ready to provide emergency health care services to the victims of the fighting as well as to the IDPs, especially women and children.
However, tensions generated by the referendum on Kurdish independence, to be held on 25 September 2017, may compromise the escape route and the referral of the wounded to Kirkuk.
One of the most likely scenarios is that people will flee to the South-West of Hawija, toward Salahdin Governorate, in particular to Baïji.
Since July 2017, WAHA International, with the support of UNFPA and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Crisis Center, intervenes in Baïji alternative hospital, including in the maternity and reproductive healthcare department, as well as in the emergency room and operating theater, which is ready to provide surgical care to casualties. The organization also set up a referral and transportation system for patients in need of a higher level of medical care.
The attack being imminent, WAHA International is also reinforcing its operations in Salahdin Governorate and recently opened two new emergency rooms and maternities in Al Alam hospital and Al Dor primary health center to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population, especially women and children, which the battle will inevitably cause.
Since February 2016, WAHA International has been setting up fixed, semi-fixed or mobile units in 15 locations in Northern Iraq to perform surgeries and deliveries and provide primary and reproductive healthcare services to victims of the conflict. WAHA medical teams are running these facilities as well as the Qayyara hospital, which we rehabilitated and equipped in the last months of 2016 in partnership with UNFPA and WHO. In 2017 alone, the organization received over 170,000 patients. WAHA International is also scaling up its mental health services to respond to the acute needs of people affected by post-traumatic stress disorder and survivors of sexual and gender based violence.