News / Middle East

UN Concerned for Displaced Iraqis

After Air Strikes, Open Relief Routes for Iraq's Displaced Minoritiesi
X
August 12, 2014 4:31 AM
The Iraqi government and Kurdish militia in the country's north have joined forces to help people stranded in the Sinjar mountains after fleeing Islamic State militants. Thousands of minority Yazidis have been trapped on a scorching mountaintop without food and water since last week. U.S. and Iraqi air strikes have opened up some escape routes for the refugees and officials have begun delivering emergency relief. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Watch related video report from Zlatica Hoke.
Margaret Besheer

The United Nations said Monday the situation for thousands of Iraqis who have fled Islamic State terrorists in the north of the country is still dire, despite several thousand of them escaping their mountain refuge.

The U.N. said more than 650,000 people have been displaced since IS fighters captured the northern city of Mosul in June. The numbers have continued to grow as the group, seen as more extreme than al-Qaida, has captured more territory across parts of northern and western Iraq.

The situation is particularly grim for thousands of minority Yazidis who have fled to the northern Mount Sinjar, where they are suffering from sun and heat exposure and lack of food. They have fled there to escape Islamic State death threats if they do not convert to Islam.

Kieran Dwyer, spokesman for the U.N. department of humanitarian affairs, told reporters by telephone from the Kurdish regional capital, Irbil, that emergency air drops of water and food are reaching people on the mountain.

Also, in the last 72 hours, thousands have reached safety off Mount Sinjar with the help of Kurdish security forces.

“When people get off the mountain they still have to get through some very difficult territory before they get into a safe zone. When they get off the mountain they are still potentially going to be confronted by armed groups,” Dwyer said.

She noted the United Nations also is extremely concerned about reports of Islamic State fighters abducting hundreds of women and girls they plan to sell.

“We are trying to work with the authorities in any way we can to bring pressure to bear to have those girls and women released," she said. "It is a desperate situation; it is very distressing for the local communities here.”

For its part, the U.N. Security Council is working on a draft resolution aimed at choking off funding to the Islamic State and suppressing the flow of foreign fighters into its ranks.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday welcomed movement toward formation of a new government in Iraq.

In a statement, his office said he is concerned the heightened political tensions combined with the security threat from the Islamic State could lead the country into even deeper crisis. And he urged the new prime minister-designate to form a new government in accordance with the constitutional time frame.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John Davenport from: Tucson, Az
August 11, 2014 10:58 PM
Why no mention that the people fleeing the Islamic
terrorists are an ancient Christian Sect?
Just curious.

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
August 11, 2014 9:58 PM
This calamitous event was long time coming in Iraq.
US is primary perpetrator who engineered Iraq into this level of catastrophic situation. Every group or sect in Iraq are on each other's throat. Fatal conflicts were created among Sunnis, Shias and Kurdis.

If USA and UK are serious about the universal protection of human rights then they have got an opportunity now to prove it!
Thousands of Yazidis minority are on the run for their life and heading into death-like mountainous terrain. US and UK have capability and means to go to Iraq and rescue and airlift all Yizidis to safety into USA or UK territories.
Bombing Iraqi IS terrorists from safe distance will never work and it will show the West's lack of courage.
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
August 12, 2014 6:02 AM
The air strike is working. There is technology to locate the target and hit it precisely . ISIS is not organize army. they are punch of radical idiot and cowered. they are hiding among the civilian and scare defenseless minority and kill hem .they are idiot like Somali terrorist organization. trust me kid they will be defeated.

by: ali baba from: new york
August 11, 2014 8:40 PM
UN is a useless organization. No body listen to Un resolution. Un has not arrested the Sudan president for crime against humanity.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs