UAE Red Crescent provides COVID-19 vaccines for IDPs, refugees in Kurdistan Region
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The United Arab Emirates Red Crescent has provided thousands of COVID-19 vaccines to internally displaced people and refugees living in the Kurdistan Region since the program was announced earlier this month.
Qushtapa and Debaga camps in the southern Kurdish province of Erbil were the first two sites where Syrian Kurdish and Iraqi IDPs on Tuesday began to receive their first doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, provided by the Emirati Red Crescent.
Iraqi IDPs who fled to the region after the rise of ISIS in 2014 reside in Qushtapa in southeastern Erbil, while the Debaga camp hosts refugees from the part of Syria Kurds call Rojava.
The UAE Red Crescent allocated 15,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine to the vulnerable population in cooperation with the Kurdistan Region’s Barzani Charity Foundation (BCF), which is in charge of camp management in the capital, Soran Khalaf, BCF head of Media and Communications, told Kurdistan 24 on Thursday.
The vaccine is first being administered to the priority groups from the displaced population, including the elderly and people with underlying conditions, Khalaf said.
“The BCF provides the UAE Red Crescent with necessary information on the health profile of the refugees and IDPS,” Khalaf said.
The majority of the refugees and IDPs live in host communities in the Kurdistan Region while about 30 percent live in the 36 camps dedicated for them, according to latest figures from the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Joint Crisis Center.
Officials from the Gulf humanitarian organization along with the UAE Consulate General in Erbil recently reiterated their support for the Kurdistan Region’s efforts in hosting refugees and displaced people.
The autonomous Kurdistan Region continues to host the largest numbers of refugees and IDPs in Iraq, estimated to be more than 927,000 people, according to the JCC. The majority of them are Iraqis who have been unable to return home after the fall of ISIS due to a lack of services and housing.
Editing by Joanne Stocker-Kelly