A Syrian refugee baby crawls across the ground in Domiz refugee camp in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on 14 November, 2012.
Domiz refugee camp was opened by UNHCR / and partner organizations near the city of Dohuk, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in early April, 2012 to provide a safe haven for Syrian refugees fleeing into neighboring Iraq. Since then, more than 16,500 Syrians have come to call Domiz home, and there are approximately 50,000 Syrian refugees (including those in Domiz) now sheltering in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
There are numerous challenges which face both the refugees, and the humanitarian organizations working to provide for their needs. For one, winter is coming to this mountainous region, and refugees are in need of warmer clothing, additional blankets, quilts, and socks and shoes, and kerosene to see them through the winter months when temperatures dip below zero and snow accumulates on the ground.
Also, providing sufficient shelter for the growing number of refugees is no easy task. More tents are needed, and existing structures need to be winterized to withstand the cold temperatures, as well as the weight of snow.
Water and sanitation also is a concern. Humanitarian organizations are working hard to install systems for providing water and drainage to refugees, but need assistance.
The need for health and education is of great concern, and is being addressed. UNHCR, partner organizations and private donors are working to provide for these critical needs. 24 hour ambulance service is available in the camp, and there are two clinics currently operating, with a hospital under construction. A 12 classroom school is underway and there is already a 24 class primary school in operation.
While there have been great strides, much assistance is still needed, particularly given the onset of winter.