UN warns of food shortages in Iraq
Over 500,000 people fled Mosul after ISIL violence erupted in the region three weeks ago (File/AFP)
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The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned of serious food insecurity in Iraq as violence continues in the crisis-hit country.
On Wednesday, FAO called for "urgent support" to farmers, saying the country was "facing serious food security concerns."
“Prevailing civil insecurity and associated access problems, labor shortages, and disruptions in transport and marketing are expected to significantly impact harvesting and domestic production and supply," FAO noted.
The international body called for $12.7 million (9.3 million euros) in emergency aid before August.
"If the conflict continues, basic food commodities and other essential items will be increasingly unavailable to the most vulnerable, despite government subsidies," said Fadel al-Zubi, the FAO representative in Iraq.
On June 10, Takfiri militants of the al-Qaeda splinter Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took control of the Nineveh provincial capital Mosul, in a lightning advance, which was followed by the fall of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) northwest of the capital Baghdad.
The ISIL has vowed to continue its raid towards Baghdad. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said that the country’s security forces would confront the terrorists, calling the seizure of Mosul a “conspiracy".
Soldiers of the Iraqi army have been engaged in heavy fighting with the militants in different fronts and have so far been able to push back militants in several areas.