Malteser International opened a new health center in late January in the refugee camp Camp Bersevi-2, near the border town of Zakho in the Dohouk region. As waves of refugees continued to pour into Camp Bersevi-1, overwhelming the infrastructure, the United Nations opened a second camp in December 2014.
Both camps house around 10,000 displaced persons, most of them members of religious minority Yazidi from the Sinjar Mountains. "Most of the people living here in the Dohuk region are displaced - more than 500,000," says Dr. Reinhard Jung-Hecker, our health coordinator in northern Iraq. In addition, this border region also hosts numerous refugees from Syria, who are also dependent on humanitarian aid.
"People arrive here completely exhausted and destitute. This is especially hard on the children," said Jung-Hecker. "In addition, the cold, the snow, and living in makeshift shelters has taken their toll. Many refugees are suffering from respiratory and diarrheal diseases."
A local team, in which three doctors, seven nurses, pharmacists and laboratory technicians – all of whom had to flee from their homes themselves – are now providing health care at the camp. "We finance both the medicines and medical equipment of the ambulance, as well as the costs of staff employed by the Iraqi Ministry of Health," said Reinhard Jung. "We also organize regular trainings for medical staff." The ambulance brings patients who need surgery or further treatment to the nearest hospital in the city of Zakho. The station was built with the financial support of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office. We had previously looked after with a mobile medical team the sick in camp.