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Iraq to See Thousands More Displaced if Fight Against ISIL Spreads - ICRC

ICR urged all parties to the conflict in Iraq to take all the measures necessary to minimize the loss of civilian life

Baku. 26 February. REPORT.AZ/ The broadening of the conflict to populated areas along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq, will force more people to abandon their homes and seek shelter in safer areas, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warns.

"If major cities like Mosul come under fire again, thousands more people will have to flee. Because security conditions are so uncertain, many areas remain out of reach for humanitarian organizations, and large numbers of people will be without help when they need it most," ICRC said in a statement released on its official website on Wednesday.

According to head of ICRC's delegation in Iraq, Patrick Youssef, those displaced people who do return home after a while come back to "badly damaged houses" and "radically disrupted supplies of water and electricity".

"Hospitals are either damaged or working at well below their usual capacity. Unexploded munitions are a huge threat: they are strewn all over the areas where fighting is particularly heavy," Youssef said as quoted in the Wednesday ICRC statement.

ICRC said that as a result of the recent widening of the conflict in Iraq, many more people – numbering in the hundreds of thousands – have been affected. This is in addition to the over two million people who had already been displaced since last year.

According to ICRC, the provinces of Al-Anbar, Ninawa, Salah al-Din, Diyala, and Kirkuk have been affected the most and people there have virtually no access to basic services.

ICR urged all parties to the conflict in Iraq to take all the measures necessary to minimize the loss of civilian life and facilitate access to functional healthcare facilities for all those in need.

"Humanitarian workers must be allowed to safely reach people who need help, and all possible measures should be taken to protect people from attacks and displacement," ICRC stressed.

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