UN makes $60m Iraq refugee appeal
The United Nations' refugee body has appealed for $60m (o30.8m, 45m
euros) in emergency aid for those fleeing violence in Iraq.
One in eight of Iraqis have now left their homes, with up to 50,000
people leaving each month, the UNHCR said.
It said the exodus was the largest long-term movement since the
displacement of the Palestinians after the creation of Israel in 1948.
Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon are hosting most of the country's
"The longer this conflict goes on, the more difficult it becomes for
the hundreds of thousands of people displaced," UNHCR head Antonio
The agency said that about 12% of Iraqis had fled their homes due to
the violence that has spread through the country since the 2003 US-led
But it also said that many had left long before the current conflict
began. The UNHCR estimates that the number of Iraqis living beyond the
country's borders as refugees stands at two million and a further 1.7
million live within the borders as displaced people. But it warns the
number of internally displaced - those forced to leave their homes but
not the country - could reach 2.7 million by the end of the year.
Of those who have fled Iraq, the UNHCR estimates that up to one
million Iraqis are living in Syria; up to 700,000 in neighbouring
Jordan; between 20,000 and 80,000 in Egypt and up to 40,000 in Lebanon.
Many of these refugees live in conditions of acute poverty and the
agency says that there is growing evidence of women turning to
prostitution. In Syria, for example, almost a third of Iraqi refugee
children do not go to school.
The agency has also urged neighbouring countries who are hosting
refugees to keep their borders open because Iraq's continuing violence
will fuel further floods of refugees.
"Unremitting violence in Iraq will likely mean continued mass
internal and external displacement affecting much of the surrounding
region," Mr Guterres said.