Baghdad, Iraq, 15 October 2016 - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has begun a four-day visit to Iraq, as the country faces a worsening humanitarian situation and as military developments in Mosul could result in one of the largest man-made displacement crises in many years.
Ongoing conflict in Iraq in the past two and a half years has already resulted in 3.3 million Iraqis having to flee their homes - accounting for nearly one in ten of the population. An expected military offensive in Mosul could result, in worst-case scenarios, in more than one million people fleeing the city, with hundreds of thousands likely to need assistance with shelter and other basic services.
“I’ve come directly from the airport to this camp”, Mr Grandi told reporters. “I thought it was very important as soon as I arrived to have a personal, visual idea of the situation. I’m happy I came, because I could see the problems, the challenges but also the opportunities; for example, I met a woman who is going back to Falluja with her children. So there are opportunities for solutions. But of course, we are all very concerned about what may come next, the Mosul military developments that could cause very large displacement. So this will be very much a focus of my visit”, he said.
Mr Grandi was speaking during a visit to Al Khadra’a camp for displaced Iraqis in Baghdad. The camp houses more than 500 people, who were forced to flee their homes in Anbar Governorate due to conflict more than two years ago.
“We are mobilising significant resources to set up camps to accommodate displaced people in safety, and to provide relief items to families who may be on the move. There is uncertainty around the military situation. But the most significant gap is financial. We immediately need $61m to complete these preparations and this will be a very strong message that I will be passing on my visit.”
Mr Grandi is expected to meet senior government officials in Baghdad and Iraq during his visit, as well as Iraqi families who have been recently displaced as the result of ongoing military offensives in the Mosul corridor.
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