Concern over IDPs and Syrian refugees as Iraq crisis deepens

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WFP in Iraq. UNifeed (video capture)

Aid agencies say that the humanitarian needs of people who have been forced to flee their homes in Iraq continue to escalate.

The United Nations estimates that there are one million displaced people in the country.

The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, says that its aid operation is currently focused on the north.

While many of the displaced have found temporary shelter, including with friends and relatives, an increasing number of people are seeking shelter in camps that are either in the process of being opened or only in the planning stages.

100,000 Syrian refugees are sheltering in Iraq.

Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for UNHCR, says that the agency is concerned about the safety of Syrian refugees at the Al Qaem camp in the west of the country.

"1500 Syrian refugees are housed there in tents.  A further 3,500 live outside the camp. Last night, there were military clashes around one of the camp areas, causing panic among the refugee population. We've been in touch with our colleagues this morning and they say that the situation has calmed."  (17″)

So far, UNHCR has distributed tents, mattresses, blankets, water containers and hygiene kits, kitchen sets and stoves to around 14,000 people who are sheltering in transit camps and urban locations.

Today, UN member states have been discussing the situation in Iraq and how best to coordinate humanitarian aid at a meeting at the UN in Geneva.

Nicki Chadwick, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1'35"


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