A Yazidi Iraqi woman sits with her children at the Bajid Kandala camp near the Tigris River, in Kurdistan’s western Dohuk province. AFP file photo
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The recent wave of stifling heat and a lack of electricity has led to the deaths of at least 52 children in refugee camps in less than a week, a Baghdad official said on Friday to the press.
“After the deaths of these children due to high temperature of 50 degrees Celsius, the government is trying to provide 24-hours electricity and coolers for refugees to save them from heat waves of summer,” said Raad al-Dahlaki, head of the Iraqi parliament's Committee on Immigration and Displacement.
Dahlaki said at least three million refugees who escaped the ongoing war against the Islamic State, or ISIS, are now living in tents and other makeshift shelters in camps across the country.
“These refugees need urgent help, and that sometimes makes the government’s tasks and duties difficult,” Dahlaki added.
Temperatures reached up to 50 degree Celsius in southern Iraq last week, with the country still suffering from power shortages due to an ineffective electricity system.
High temperatures in Iraq and the Kurdistan region are expected to continue for several more days. The Kurdistan Regional Government announced on Wednesday a four-day holiday due to the heat.
In the above July 31 story, Raad al-Dahlaki, head of the Iraqi Parliament's Committee on Immigration and Displacement, stated in a televised press conference at the Iraqi Parliament that 52 Iraqi children lost their lives in refugee camps due to high temperatures.
Later that day Rudaw's Baghdad correspondent sought further details by contacting Jasim Muhammad al-Jaf, the Iraqi minister of migration and displacement, and Dahlaki.
The Iraqi minister told Rudaw that Dahlaki’s statements had been misrepresented and that the 52 children who had died were in ISIS-controlled territory, and not Iraqi refugee camps.
The minister did not provide supporting information as to how he came across this data from within ISIS territory, but added that only a small number of child deaths occurred in refugee camps under the control of the Iraqi government.