Iraq UN mission concerned at upsurge in people displaced by recent violence

“Displacement is not a phenomena exclusive to any specific region, ethnicity or creed. Indeed, displacement since the 22 February bombing of the (Shiite) Samara shrine has equally affected all of Iraq’s diverse communities on a nationwide basis,” the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said in a statement.“While addressing the immediate needs of Iraq’s internally displaced is critical, UNAMI stresses the need to focus on developing mechanisms to allow for the safe and dignified return of displaced Iraqis to their homes. Achieving this will be central to Iraq’s long-term stability,” it added.In an effort to support the Iraqi government in meeting the emergency needs of these people, the UN and its partners have distributed assistance to over 12,500 of the most vulnerable recently displaced families. It is estimated that there are 1.3 million IDPs in Iraq, nearly 5 per cent of the total population. While many were displaced as long ago as the early 1980s, the last four months of increasing violence and relentless sectarian tensions have resulted in the sudden mass increase. In the last fortnight alone, 3,200 families have fled Ramadi to neighbouring towns as a result of the military operations there.

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