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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid