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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/7/2014 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

'Violence, displacement and dehydration over the past two days' has already claimed lives of 40 children

A humanitarian tragedy of momentous proportions looms large - and the international community will have blood on its collective hands if it chooses not to act. Nearly 25,000 children, mostly from the minority Yazidi community are stranded in northwest Iraq. The children are among those who fled ahead of advancing Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS. These children are now stranded without water or supplies in arid, mountainous terrain.

Tens of thousands of people fled as ISIS seized control of the town and district of Sinjar west of Mosul at the weekend.

Tens of thousands of people fled as ISIS seized control of the town and district of Sinjar west of Mosul at the weekend.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/7/2014 (8 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Iraq, displaced children, starvation, dehydration, Yazidi


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The U.N. Children's Fund in Iraq says that at least 40 children were already reported to have died, "as a direct consequence of violence, displacement and dehydration over the past two days."

Tens of thousands of people fled as ISIS seized control of the town and district of Sinjar west of Mosul at the weekend.

SAVE Iraqi Christians from Genocide --

"Families who fled the area are in immediate need of urgent assistance, including up to 25,000 children who are now stranded in mountains surrounding Sinjar and are in dire need of humanitarian aid including drinking water and sanitation services," UNICEF's Iraq director, Marzio Babille says.

Displaced families from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjarl

Displaced families from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjarl west of Mosul, arrive at Dohuk province.


Babille's calling upon "all those who have influence to immediately grant children and women free and safe access to areas of refuge and respect the special protection afforded to children under international humanitarian and human rights law."

Sinjar's normal population of around 35,000 swelled by an additional 50,000 people earlier this summer. These people have been displaced by the ISIS advance, fleeing the violence, fears of persecution, summary executions and abductions at the hands of the jihadists.

The capture of both Sinjar and surrounding areas prompted an exodus of both the usual inhabitants and those already displaced.

The Sinjar district has a population of at least 150,000 children, many of whom are now displaced, according to UNICEF.

"Children are particularly vulnerable, and are most affected by the continuing violence, displacement and fighting in Iraq," Babille says. "UNICEF repeats its urgent call for all children in need to be protected and immediately provided with life-saving assistance to prevent further loss of life."

Sinjar has long been home to the world's largest community of Yazidis, ethnic Kurdish adherents of a religion that predates Islam and Christianity and has links to Zoroastrianism.

Many Muslims view them as apostates or even "devil worshipers," and they have historically been oppressed, especially at the hands of Ottoman Turkey and Kurdish Sunnis.

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