News / Middle East

Iraq Displacement Grows as Fighting Escalates

FILE - Iraqi Security forces preparing to attack al-Qaida positions in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq.  Militants, many from the al-Qaida-breakaway group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, overran Fallujah and parts of Anbar’s capital, Ramadi.
FILE - Iraqi Security forces preparing to attack al-Qaida positions in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq. Militants, many from the al-Qaida-breakaway group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, overran Fallujah and parts of Anbar’s capital, Ramadi.
Lisa Schlein
The U.N. refugee agency reports growing numbers of Iraqis are fleeing fighting, which is raging in Anbar province.  The UNHCR said the deteriorating security situation in this troubled region is making it more difficult for aid agencies to reach those in need Saturday’ s attack by Iraqi militants on Anbar University in the city of Ramadi is the most recent in three days of violence by Islamist extremists.

It follows raids in the cities of Mosul and Samarra.  The deadly assault in Ramadi by militants who killed three guards and seized dozens of students as hostages highlights the chaotic situation enveloping Anbar province for months.  

The U.N. refugee agency said the growing violence in this Sunni dominated province is creating a displacement crisis.  It estimates nearly half-a-million people have fled their homes since fighting between Shia-led government forces and Sunni rebels in eastern Anbar escalated in January.  

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said people flee according to the shifting waves of fighting.  For example, he says last month some 72,000 Iraqis were forced to flee their homes when militants deliberately breached a dam in Anbar s Abu Ghraib district.

The floodwaters have subsided, and people are returning to their homes.  There are now health and recovery worries.  Access to clean water is a pressing concern, because the flooding damaged water treatment plants.

Local officials said 28 tanker trucks loaded with potable water are being delivered to the area each day, but this is only meeting about 50 percent of needs said Edwards.

Edwards said the UNHCR is bracing for a possible exodus of people from the city of Fallujah, which recently came under shelling.  He said the attack hit a hospital and water plant, making life in the city very difficult U.N. aid workers report tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens have fled Anbar province and are spread throughout the country.  

They say large concentrations of displaced people are found in Salah al-Din, an autonomous Sunni-governorate north of Baghad.

Others are in Erbil, Kirkuk, Sulaymaniyah in Kurdistan, and in the capital, Baghdad Edwards said many of the displaced are struggling to cope in desperate conditions.

The more fortunate are living with friends and relatives, others though are in tents, schools, unfinished buildings, other types of communal shelter.  

In Anbar governorate alone, almost two-thirds of the 300,000 people displaced there are living in schools, he explained. people are telling us that housing stock is limited, becoming increasingly expensive.  Most people are without income.  People are going into debt to pay for essential needs.  

Families say access to housing and food is really their top priority. Edwards said the UNHCR has provided emergency relief kits and other items to more than 40,000 people as well as cash assistance to 2,500 of the most vulnerable.  But, he noted this is only a fraction of what is needed He said the agency would like to urgently ramp up its humanitarian operation, but cannot because it only has received 12 percent of its $26.4 million appeal.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid