Dubai: Four years after the invasion, more than 1,500 Iraqis flee their homes daily, a spokesman for the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said.
Since the beginning of 2006, 730,000 Iraqis have fled. About two million Iraqis are estimated to have left for neighbouring countries and about 1.9 million are displaced inside Iraq. Syria says it is home to 1.2 million Iraqi refugees, with up to 800,000 in Jordan.
"We don't have exact figures since the invasion in 2003 but it is a catastrophe now and will get worse," UNHCR spokesperson Astrid Van Genderen Stort told Gulf News. The UNHCR estimates that up to 50,000 people are fleeing their homes every month.
An estimated four million people in Iraq are dependent on food assistance and one in four children is suffering from chronic malnutrition.
The UNHCR is organising an international conference in Geneva on April 17 and 18 to examine how to deal with the biggest wave of displacement in the Middle East since 1948. But funds that the UNHCR have asked for have not been met by the international community.
"We were looking for $60 million (Dh220.2 million), which to be honest is peanuts for the problems the refugees face but even of that we have only received $35 million (Dh128.45 million)," Stort said. Many of those who have fled to other parts of Iraq have run out of resources, and host communities are struggling to absorb increasing numbers of displaced.
"There are reports of people coming back, returning to Iraq but we have not seen any credible evidence of this," Stort said. Some 70 per cent of the Iraqi population lack access to adequate water supplies, while 80 per cent lack effective sanitation. The unemployment rate is over 50 per cent.Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16