OCHA Flash Update: Iraq Crisis - Significant Displacement from Sinjar, No. 1 | 3 August 2014

Reports from UNAMI, which have been corroborated by local media and social media, indicate that the city of Sinjar was occupied earlier today - 3 August - by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after armed clashes between ISIS fighters and Yezidis, supported by the Peshmerga. It has also been confirmed by UNAMI that Zummar has been occupied by ISIS. Both incidents are likely to cause significant new displacements.

According to UNAMI there are reports of significant displacement from Sinjar city and surrounding areas to the Sinjar mountains. The number of displaced people is not known, however initial reports range from thousands of families to a figure of approximately 200,000 people. It is likely that displaced people from Sinjar district are surrounded by ISIS forces due to reported armed clashes north of Sinjar near the border town of Rabia with Syria. Based on a number of verbal reports from the displaced population, there is an immediate need for water, food, shelter and heath services. Although not independently verified by the UN, this information is assessed as fairly reliable and probably true.

Sinjar is a town in Iraq's Ninewa Governorate near the Syrian border. The estimated population of the district in 2014 was 308,315. The district is mainly inhabited by Yezidis, a religious and ethnic minority, with Arab and Assyrian minorities [source Wikpedia and UNOCHA].

OCHA is coordinating with UNAMI and humanitarian partners to obtain more information on the situation and determine how best to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance.

The next Flash Update will be issued as soon as more information is available.

For more information, contact David Swanson, or visit the Humanitarian Operations Centre, UNAMI Erbil.

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