Najat Elhamri, Islamic Relief’s Head of Middle East Region, said:

“The recent escalation of violence in many parts of Iraq and the rising reports of civilian casualties are of concern to Islamic Relief.

“To date, hundreds of innocent lives have been lost and thousands of people have been seriously injured in the ongoing violence.

“We urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to ensure that civilians are protected. The international community also needs to step up and do more to help alleviate the harsh economic situation.

“The fragile economic situation, exasperated by years of political instability and the regional turmoil has fuelled resentment especially among the young and the people our teams speak to say they are consumed by worry over ever-rising unemployment, the rising cost of living and the stagnating wages. They are growing desperate and not sure how they will make ends meet.

“To ensure we can breathe hope back into a country that has been home to so much suffering over the last few decades, the international community needs to come together and once again prioritise Iraq.

“Iraq needs a wide-ranging investment in education and jobs training as well as wide-reaching support for the economy to allow it to develop so more people can rise out of poverty and live in safety and dignity.

“Despite the chronic insecurity and volatile context, Islamic Relief is continuing to work in those areas which are highly risk and security prone. Our projects include food, water and sanitation, health and education as well as programmes that aim to battle violence against women and support people’s livelihoods but much more needs to be done and donors need to step up and not forget the people of Iraq who have lived through decades of suffering already.”

***ENDS****

Islamic relief has been operating in Iraq since 1997 and helped improve life for hundreds of thousands of people, affected by war, displacement and economic inequality.

We work closely with faith leaders in the community to tackle and stop violence against women that has risen

We also run vocational training centres and livelihood support/ recovery programmes for young people in Erbil and Ninewa. The aim of our career centre in Erbil is to improve the economic conditions of young people through apprenticeships and generation of employment opportunities.

Our mandates include providing aid to the Syrian refugees, regularly distributing food parcels, and hygiene and sanitation kits to the displaced. We also work with the local communities in Disaster Risk Reduction, especially flooding which impacts these camps.