UNOPS in Coordination with UNHCR Begins Distribution of Solar-powered Lamps to Internally Displaced Families in Iraq

September 4, 2014

Cross-posted from reliefweb. Original article can be found here

Dohuk, 4 September 2014 – In an effort to increase the safety of vulnerable displaced families in Iraq, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) began distribution of solar-powered lamps and mobile phone charging kits in collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Solar kits were distributed to more than 200 internally displaced families sheltering in unfinished buildings outside the city of Zakho in Duhok Governorate. Each kit contains two detachable lanterns and a mobile phone charger, both solar-powered. More than 100,000 such kits will be distributed to internally displaced persons (IDPs) throughout the Kurdistan Region of Iraq by the end of the year.

“The solar lamp and mobile phone charging kits will increase the safety of IDPs, especially women and children who may feel unsafe at night”, explained Kareem Elbayar, Programme Manager for UNOPS. “Ensuring access to electricity and lighting is crucial because most IDP settlements are located in areas without regular access to power, and lack of electricity may have a serious impact on both the protection and health conditions of conflict-affected people”.

UNHCR is supporting the construction of four camps for IDPs in Dohuk Governorate, three of which now host more than 20,000 persons. UNOPS is working closely with UNHCR to identify locations of the most vulnerable families with no access to electricity, in order to improve their safety and access to shelter and services.

Since the beginning of 2014, more than 850,000 people have sought refuge in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, with most going to the Dohuk Governorate.

The UNOPS project “Increasing Access to Electricity for IDPs and Host Communities” is funded by the Saudi Humanitarian Fund for Iraq.

For more information, please contact: · Kareem Elbayar, Programme Manager, +964 751 014 9245,kareeme@unops.org · Rasheed Hussein Rasheed, UNHCR Duhok Public Information Associate, +964 750 713 0014, rasheedr@unhcr.org