The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has reported that up to 10,000 people have fled northern Iraq since ISIS began its takeover of the predominantly Christian region.
Violence and gunfire in the area has prompted civilians to flee Qaraqosh as quickly as possible; most refugees bring few belongings. The UNHCR is partnering with additional charities to provide food, bedding, and hygiene kits to those forced to stay in schools and community centers.
Still, the conditions are difficult for the Christians who have been forced out of their homes. "They have no access to showers and there is no air conditioning. They are living in classrooms where daytime temperatures exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 degreed Fahrenheit),” said a UNHCR spokesperson. Some refugees need medical treatment and lack access to doctors.
In total, 1.2 million Iraqis have fled the region due to violence. The UNHCR reports that $64.2 million is needed to assist the influx of refugees; so far, they have only raised 8 percent.
The announcement from the UNHCR came on June 20, the same day that Human Rights Watch reported ISIS insurgents had killed at least 160 Iraqi men in a mass execution.
Publication date: June 27, 2014