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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid