Covid-19 outbreak among IDPs amid absence of vaccination

Duhok 2019- The way to Kabartw camp for IDPs mainly from Ninewa. Ammar Aziz

By Ammar Aziz in Duhok

An IDP passed away due to serious consequences of Covid-19 in a camp and many positive cases were registered in the camps while there is no Covid-19 treatment hospital and an outlet for vaccination in any camp or specially dedicated for the IDPs.

Mirza Hassan, 45, an Ezidi IDP in Kabartw camp in the province of Duhok, has died on July 21st due to Covid-19.

Fares Murad, a neighbor of Hassan, said he gave him a hand by taking to the hospital. Murad thinks he has been infected as well due to being in touch with Hassan.

“He had kidney problems and asthma. Following testing positive of Corona, he died on July 21st at night,” Murad said.

Murad said that rumors say that many positive cases are in the camp and even death cases reported.

About 50 people in the camp are positive of Corona Virus

There are small and temporary health centers for first aid in the camps for IDPs forcing the positive cases to go to public hospitals outside the camps in the centers of the main cities.

Sabah Mirza, an admin of Kabartw camp, told KirkukNow about 50 people confirmed positive including Hassan who passed away.

“If people are preventive and don’t cooperate, the numbers of the infected might surge.”

KirkukNow could not get official data about Covid-19 among the IDPs as they are counted as ordinary residents of the cities they are based in.

Informal figures say four IDPs passed away in the last two weeks due to Covid-19 in Kurdistan region where 665,000 IDPs live in 26 camps, figures by Joint Cooperation Center of Crisis JCC under the ministry of interior of Kurdistan Regional Government KRG.

Based on recommendations by the ministry of health upon registration of Delta variant of Covid-19, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi chaired a meeting of high committee for health & safety last Tuesday where he decided to impose compulsory masking in public places as Iraq faces third wave of Covid-19, Iraqi PM Media office said.

The Iraqi security forces ISF were tasked to impose recommendations of this meeting. Effective from Sunday July 25th, only half of civil servants will attend office as part of new set of rules to curb the rampant wave of the pandemic.

Hamza Raziki, media officer of Duhok health directorate, said number of infected are in raise. “Only in the four days of Eid, July 20-23rd, 20 death cases were registered but we do not record IDPs separately.”

On July 24th, the KRG has reported over 1,000 positive case of Covid-19 and 15 deaths. Over 700 cases were in Duhok.


Duhok, August 2020- The camp of Chamishko for IDPs in Zakho district has been shut following a positive case of Covid-19. KirkukNow 

The camps misses special centers for vaccination of the IDPs, a step to curb the spread of the pandemic among impoverished IDPs.

“The IDPs have to vaccinate in Mosul as Ninewa province in in charge yet we have allocated a center for refugees from Syria in Domiz camp and IDPs can receive the vaccine there,” Raziki said.

Besides, online registration is also available for IDPs alike ordinary residents.

“Over 100 IDPs have registered online and were vaccinated,” he added.

The IDPs blame the authorities for poor public services, especially in terms of health service.

“We provide precaution necessities like mask and sanitizers because neither the government nor the organization are supporting us in this regard,” said Khidir Alyas, a resident of Kabartw.

Alyas called for urgent steps to provide testing and vaccination in order to avoid an eminent disaster.

“As there is no center for vaccination in the camp, the minimum has been vaccinated,” he added. Alyas recommends restrictions to curb the pandemic instead of lockdown which has a negative impact on their life and daily income for breadwinning.

the minimum of the IDPs has been vaccinated

Last year tough procedures of locking the IDP camps sparked wide protests among the IDPs.

Duhok health media officer said there is no plan for curfew at the moment “yet if the government takes the decision, it will include the IDP camps as well.”

KRG ministry of health have warned in the last few days of spike in positive cases of Delta variant which is more aggressive and much more transmissible than previously circulating strains.

First identified in India, Delta variant of Covid-19, it has spread rapidly across the world and poses a particular threat in places where vaccination rates remain low.

Since February 2020, Iraq has registered over 1.5 million cases and 18,000 deaths. Only 1.265 million have received the jab as Iraq joined the race last March.

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