A displaced Iraqi woman from Nineveh province sits in a tent in a camp. Photo: Ahmad Al-Rubaye | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – With international aid organizations warning of a need for psychological services, a displaced man from Mosul has strangled himself to death at a refugee camp in Hassan Sham in the Kurdistan Region, said an official.
Rizgar Obeid, in charge of the Barzani Charity Foundation at the U2 camp told Rudaw on Monday night a 37 year old Mosul refugee named Adil Ali “strangled himself to death and ended his life.”
The official explained that Ali “was living together with his mother at the camp. A few months ago his mother passed away.”
Obeid added that after Ali’s mother died, his psychological condition deteriorated. Even his neighbors at the camp would help him, but “unfortunately he strangled himself.”
The camp was opened with the support of the UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency, in May. It is some 30 kilometers east of Mosul and has the capacity to accommodate 9,000 people, mostly from western Mosul where the fiercest and most destructive battles between Iraqi security forces and ISIS militants occurred.
“Psychosocial services are an essential aspect of assistance to displaced Iraqis, who have experienced unimaginable horrors and pain,” said International Organization for Migration (IOM) Iraq Chief of Mission, Thomas Lothar Weiss, in a mid-August statement.
“Now that Mosul has been retaken, and many IDPs have reached safety, part of the healing process involves assisting individuals to process their grief and loss, and empowering them to take steps to recovery.”
ISIS rose to power in 2014 and subsequent battles have displaced more than 5.3 million Iraqis.
As of August 15, 3,261,060 Iraqis remained displaced with 2,113,302 having returned, according IOM statistics.
With support from the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the Government of Canada, IOM’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Support programme (MHPSS) now has seven centres catering to IDPs between the Qayarah Airstrip and Haj Ali emergency sites, and the Hasansham U3, Nergizilya 1 and Chamakor camps.
Local authorities have acknowledged that they lack the ability to provide adequate psychosocial services, and called on international humanitarian organizations to fill the gap.