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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/18/2014 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Half a million people have fled nation after Islamist militants take hold

Black-clad fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, (ISIL) have caused nearly half a million people to flee their homeland. The long-troubled Middle Eastern nation now faces the very real prospect of an all-out sectarian war. In the face of this upheaval, shelter, food and medical care are urgently needed in Iraq.

Up to 300,000 people were seeking safety north of Mosul in Erbil and Dohuk, which are areas struggling to cope with an influx of refugees from neighboring Syria.

Up to 300,000 people were seeking safety north of Mosul in Erbil and Dohuk, which are areas struggling to cope with an influx of refugees from neighboring Syria.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/18/2014 (9 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Iraq, upheaval, emergencyu aid, upheaval, refugees


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Iraq faces a "crisis on top of a crisis" according to aid workers. Rebel soldiers have seized the north part of the country, including Iraq's second biggest city, Mosul.

Up to 300,000 people were seeking safety north of Mosul in Erbil and Dohuk, which are areas struggling to cope with an influx of refugees from neighboring Syria. Large numbers of these refugees are internally displaced Iraqis, according to the International Medical Corps.

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"Hospitals in Erbil are at capacity and struggling to absorb the influx of Iraqis in need of healthcare," the medical charity said earlier this week. There are increased worries about the heightened risk of cholera and measles due to poor living conditions here.

Both the British Red Cross and Christian Aid have launched emergency appeals for Iraq, while Irish charity GOAL said it had sent a team to northern Iraq to assess what it could do to help.

"This is a crisis on top of a crisis," Christian Aid's humanitarian programs manager, Adrian Ouvry, says.

"Over 220,000 Syrian refugees are already in northern Iraq trying to escape the fighting in their own country. These emergencies are on a huge scale. There is an overwhelming need for help," he said in a statement.

There remain shortages of shelter, food, water and fuel in northern Iraq and hospitals in Mosul were operating at limited capacity.

According to United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, U.N. officials were in discussions with the Iraqi authorities on releasing food stocks held by Iraq.

"We also have stocks in Iraq that ... are slated for Syria, which can be utilized in the short term," Amos told a news conference in Geneva. It's still too early to say what impact the military action would have on aid to Syria.

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