United Nations, Aug 15 IANS | 2 months ago

The United Nations has declared its highest level emergency for the crisis in Iraq as humanitarian needs for millions of displaced civilians continue to grow, the UN said Thursday.

The "Level 3 Emergency" designation is the highest global humanitarian priority for the UN and partner agencies, Xinhua quoted UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric as saying.

The Secretary-General's special representative Nickolay Mladenov said the declaration will "facilitate mobilisation of additional resources in goods, funds and assets" to ensure a more effective response to the humanitarian needs of populations affected by forced displacements, Dujarric said.

The UN estimates that over 1.2 million Iraqis have been internally displaced following increased violence by the armed extremist group, Islamic State (IS).

Since mid-June, UN agencies have scaled up assistance and reached tens of thousands of people with food, water, shelter, health care and medical supplies.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is working with other humanitarian partners to step up efforts to meet the growing needs of people arriving from Sinjar Mountain, Dujarric said, noting that tens of thousands of people are reportedly still trapped on the mountain, many with deteriorating health conditions.

Over 400,000 people mainly from Iraqi minority groups have sought refuge in Dohuk governorate of the Kurdistan region escaping violence unleashed by militant groups, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

(Posted on 15-08-2014)

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