The president of the ICRC, Peter Maurer, said that suffering in Syria and Iraq has reached ‘unprecedented levels’ and that many people, in both countries, are living in ‘abject fear and terrifying uncertainty’, with the situation worsening almost by the day.
As the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end, Mr Maurer called on those people with influence over the conflict to show vision and courage and a respect for the fundamental value of human dignity. Maurer said, “The people need leaders who believe in humanity; who protect homes, schools and hospitals; who protect civilians and treat people they capture with respect. And we stand ready to talk to anyone – or to act as an intermediary so that more help, more assistance, can be delivered. And more people protected from violence.”
In both countries, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions forced to flee their homes. It is estimated that there are around 10 million people internally displaced in Syria and Iraq.
The once prosperous Ramadi in central Iraq now in tatters – a ghost town. Explosive remnants of war are scattered across the city and most people are too afraid to return to homes. It will take months, if not years, to make the city safe again and to rebuild homes and damaged water and electric systems.
The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have been providing aid to people on all sides of the conflicts. The ICRC has helped provide clean drinking water and improved sanitation for more than 6 million Syrians. In Iraq, food, drinking water and medical assistance has been delivered to more than a million people.