Friday, 27 May 2016 03:00

UNHCR Help For Newly Displaced Families From Falluja

Baghdad, 27 May 2016 - The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, is today (Friday 27) delivering emergency relief supplies to families who managed to escape the besieged Iraqi city of Falluja over the last few days.

 

More than 800 people have fled Falluja, mostly from outlying areas, as the government continues its military offensive to re-take control of the city, around 60 kilometres west of the capital, Baghdad. Falluja was the first city to be taken by extremist groups in January 2014. Since then, more than 3.2 million people have been displaced across Iraq.

Tens of thousands of civilians still remain trapped inside Falluja, prevented from escaping by extremist forces as the city continues to come under heavy bombardment by Iraqi forces. In December, routes out of the city were cut off and civilians prevented from leaving. Since then, food and medicines have been in short supply and families have had to rely on unsafe water sources.

UNHCR and its partner, Muslim Aid, are distributing emergency relief items to families who have escaped Falluja and are sheltering in one camp it has helped to set up in Amiriyat al-Falluja, in Anbar governorate. The agency will also open two new camps next week in Habbaniyah Tourist City, that will able to accommodate 500 newly-displaced families.

"UNHCR and its partners have already built extra shelters ready to assist newly-displaced families and we will distribute emergency supplies to provide them with some essential daily items” said UNHCR’s Assistant Representative in Iraq, Leila Jane Nassif.

"The small number of families who managed to flee Falluja did so putting their lives at grave risk in the attempt" said Ms Nassif. "They have told us harrowing tales of their escape, travelling on foot for hours at night, moving across fields and hiding in disused irrigation pipes. Others have lost their lives trying to leave the city, including women and children. Other reports say a number of people attempting to depart have been executed or whipped; and one man’s leg was amputated.

“There are reports of a dramatic increase in the number of executions of men and older boys in Falluja refusing to fight on behalf of extremist forces. And many people have been killed or buried alive under the rubble of their homes in the course of ongoing military operations.

“Civilian lives should not be held hostage in this way. It is vital that safe routes are opened, allowing civilians access to safety and live-saving assistance” she added.

 

For more information contact:

Senior Public Information Officer, Caroline Gluck This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +964 780 920 7286

Public Information Associate Reem Suwaed This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +964 780 195 8468

Last modified on Thursday, 15 September 2016 10:24

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