28 August 2007 – The number of Iraqis uprooted from their homes by the deteriorating humanitarian situation, both inside and outside the country, is rising, with the monthly rate climbing to over 60,000 people, compared to 50,000 previously, for an overall total of 4.2 million people, the United Nations refugee agency reported today.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing in Geneva that displacement is rising as Iraqis are finding it harder to get access to social services inside Iraq and many Iraqis are choosing to leave ethnically mixed areas before they are forced to do so. She added that some Iraqis who stayed in the country until the end of the school year recently started leaving the country with their families.
She also pointed out that while most security incidents happen in the centre and south, those displaced are not confined there.
In the north, there are more than 780,000 displaced Iraqis, over 650,000 in the centre and 790,000 in the south. Many are barely surviving in makeshift camps, inaccessible to aid workers for security reasons.
With over 300 staff working on the Iraq operation, UNHCR has now registered more than 170,000 refugees in neighboring countries, 15 per cent of whom need special assistance including many much traumatized people and torture victims.