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Fleeing Violence, Living Precariously in Northern Iraq

08 October 2014

MSF teams are reaching out to displaced people in Dohuk, listening to them, advising them, and letting them know that they can access MSF’s free health care. Photo: Gabrielle Klein/MSF

The local inhabitants of Sharya town are doing their best to accommodate the new arrivals. This hair salon cuts displaced people’s hair for free. Photo: Gabrielle Klein/MSF

In the town of Zakho, in Dohuk Governorate, MSF teams have set up a clinic in Dalal camp to provide primary health care to those that have been displaced. Photo: Gabrielle Klein/MSF

Many families have settled in Sharya town and are now living in tents that offer them little protection from the weather. Photo: Gabrielle Klein/MSF

For the hundreds of thousands of people like this family, who arrived in Dohuk trying to escape the violence in Iraq, living conditions are very difficult. Photo: Gabrielle Klein/MSF

A child stands by the MSF flag at a camp in Dohuk Governorate, where local authorities are struggling to cope with the increasing needs. Photo: Gabrielle Klein/MSF

In the city of Dabin, in Dohuk Governorate, an MSF team evaluates the needs of people living in unfinished buildings. Photo: Gabrielle Klein/MSF

Winter is harsh in this region, and with no windows or heating, living conditions for those in unfinished buildings will be extremely precarious. Photo: Gabrielle Klein/MSF

The recent increase of violence in Iraq has left an estimated 1.8 million people displaced since January, according to official figures, with nearly half of them finding refuge in schools, camps, or unfinished buildings in the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

Hundreds of thousands of people who have reached safer areas in KRG such as Dohuk Governorate are living in precarious conditions, often in overcrowded spaces with a lack of sanitation, which is affecting their health. One camp is ready while others are still being built, and temperatures are dropping.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is trying to help meet the new and increased medical needs by carrying out medical consultations through three mobile clinics in Dohuk.