500,000 flee Iraqi city following rebel takeoverListen /
Around half a million Iraqi people have fled Mosul, after rebel fighters took control of the country's second largest city.
That's according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Heavy fighting between Iraqi security forces and insurgents has been continuing for days.
The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Maliki has reportedly asked parliament to declare a state of emergency.
Christiane Berthiaume is from the IOM.
"Mosul has been the theatre of heavy fighting during the weekend and half a million is the estimated the number of people who have fled the city for the surrounding areas. People have fled by foot because they were not allowed to take their cars. That means they do not have access to basic needs inside the city. Violence has caused a lot of causalities amongst civilians." (27″)
Iraq has been plagued by violence since the beginning of the year.
On Tuesday, the UN Secretary-General said he was “gravely concerned” by the serious deterioration of the security situation in Mosul.
Daniel Dickinson, United Nations