UN concerned about Iraqi civilians displaced from Fallujah operation

Published June 28th, 2016 - 06:30 GMT
Iraqis displaced from the city of Fallujah collect aid distributed by the Norwegian Refugee Council at a newly opened camp in Amriyat al-Fallujah on June 27, 2016, south of Fallujah. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)
Iraqis displaced from the city of Fallujah collect aid distributed by the Norwegian Refugee Council at a newly opened camp in Amriyat al-Fallujah on June 27, 2016, south of Fallujah. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said Monday it is "very concerned about the extremely dire conditions for more than 85,000 people" who have fled Iraq's besieged city of Fallujah over the last month.

“The people of Fallujah have been suffering under siege for many months without access to food or medical care. Reaching them now with life-saving food and other humanitarian assistance is the absolute top priority,” WFP Deputy Country Director in Iraq Maha Ahmed said in a statement.

People have continued to flee Fallujah since military operations to retake the city from Daesh forces began in May.

"People are gathering in dozens of small camps where conditions are very harsh and many families are forced to share already-overcrowded tents. Others are stranded in the desert or sheltering at mosques and schools," the WFP warned.

A senior Iraqi police commander on Sunday declared the western city of Fallujah fully liberated from Daesh after an offensive that lasted more than a month.

In April, the Iraqi army, backed by US-led warplanes, launched an offensive to recapture Fallujah from Daesh, which took control of the city in early 2014.

Iraq has suffered a devastating security vacuum since mid-2014, when Daesh captured the northern city of Mosul and overran large swathes of territory in the northern and western parts of the country.

According to the UN, more than 3.4 million people are now displaced in Iraq -- more than half of them children -- while more than 10 million are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

By Fatih Erel


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