Wednesday, April 11, 2007


UNITED NATIONS - / - 11 April 2007 -- Nearly 4 million Iraqis have been forced to flee their homes in a mass exodus sparked by bloodshed, want and insecurity according to the UNHCR.

Approximately 2 million Iraqis are now in neighbouring countries and the estimated 1.9 million Iraqis have remained displaced inside their own country, “many of them in increasingly desperate conditions,” according to UNHCR.

Some 730,000 Iraqis have become newly displaced by sectarian violence since the beginning of last year and more are fleeing their homes daily according UNHCR.

“Spiralling levels of sectarian, political and criminal violence, dwindling basic services, loss of livelihood, inflation and uncertainty about the future have all contributed to an exodus now estimated at 40,000 to 50,000 a month fleeing their homes inside Iraq,” said Ron Redmond, UNHCR spokesman, in a press briefing in Geneva yesterday.

“Since most of those who have fled have not gone to camps, the movement has not been so obvious, but it is enormous nonetheless and those who have fled are becoming increasingly desperate as they and their host communities run out of resources.”

Governments, international organizations and NGOs have confirmed their participation in the meeting, which will be held from 17 to 18 April and chaired by UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres on the plight of Iraqi refugees and displaced people.

“Although the world is aware of the military and political situation in Iraq, the immense and growing humanitarian needs are not well-known,” said Redmond.

“The idea of next week’s conference is to alert the international community to the humanitarian dimensions of the displacement crisis in and around Iraq and to forge an ongoing international humanitarian partnership to alleviate suffering, to provide protection and to share the burden with those countries and communities that have so far borne the brunt of the crisis,” he said.

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