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UN refugee agency begins delivering supplies to families escaping besieged Fallujah

UN refugee agency begins delivering supplies to families escaping besieged Fallujah

India Blooms News Service | | 28 May 2016, 11:07 am
New York, May 28 (Just Earth News): The United Nations refugee agency said on Friday that it is delivering emergency relief supplies to families who managed to escape the besieged Iraqi city of Fallujah over the past few days.

In a press briefing in Geneva earlier on Friday, Melissa Fleming, chief spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted that more than 800 people have fled Fallujah, mostly from outlying areas, as the Government continues its military offensive to re-take control of the city, around 60 kilometres west of the capital, Baghdad.

“Families have told UNHCR and its protection partners harrowing tales of their escape, travelling on foot for hours at night, moving across fields and hiding in disused irrigation pipes. Others have lost their lives trying to leave the city, including women and children,”  Fleming said.

Several people, including women and children, have been killed trying to escape, she noted.

Fallujah was the first city to be taken by extremist groups in January 2014. Since then, more than 3.2 million people have been displaced across Iraq, the spokesperson said.

Fleming underscored that some 50,000 civilians still remain trapped inside Fallujah, prevented from escaping by extremist forces as the city continues to come under heavy bombardment by Iraqi forces.

In December, routes out of the city were cut off and civilians prevented from leaving. Since then, food has been in short supply, people are relying on expired rice and dried dates, and several starvation-related deaths have been reported, the spokesperson said.

In addition, families have had to rely on unsafe water sources, including drainage water from irrigation canals. Health facilities and medications are not available in the area, leading some families to reportedly use herbal medicine for the purpose of treatment,  Fleming said.

UNHCR and its partner, Muslim Aid, will distribute emergency relief items to families who have escaped Fallujah and are sheltering in one camp it has helped to set up in Amiriyat al-Falluja, in Anbar governorate.

The agency plans to open two new camps next week in Habbaniyah Tourist City, which will be able to accommodate 500 newly displaced families. The number of families who have escaped, however, is still very small, given the tens of thousands of people still trapped in the besieged city,  Fleming noted.

Inside Fallujah, there have been reports of a dramatic increase in the number of executions of men and older boys refusing to fight on behalf of extremist forces. Other reports say a number of people attempting to depart the city have been executed or whipped, and one man’s leg was reportedly amputated, the spokesperson said.

In addition, many people are reported to have been killed or buried alive under the rubble of their homes in the course of ongoing military operations.

“It is vital that safe routes are opened, allowing civilians access to safety and live-saving assistance,”  Fleming said.

She added that UNHCR and its partners have built extra shelters that are ready to assist newly displaced families and will distribute emergency supplies to provide them with some essential daily ite

Photo: UNHCR/Qusai Alazroni

Source: www.justearthnews.com
In a press briefing in Geneva earlier on Friday, Melissa Fleming, chief spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted that more than 800 people have fled Fallujah, mostly from outlying areas, as the Government continues its military offensive to re-take control of the city, around 60 kilometres west of the capital, Baghdad.

“Families have told UNHCR and its protection partners harrowing tales of their escape, travelling on foot for hours at night, moving across fields and hiding in disused irrigation pipes. Others have lost their lives trying to leave the city, including women and children,”  Fleming said.

Several people, including women and children, have been killed trying to escape, she noted.

Fallujah was the first city to be taken by extremist groups in January 2014. Since then, more than 3.2 million people have been displaced across Iraq, the spokesperson said.

Fleming underscored that some 50,000 civilians still remain trapped inside Fallujah, prevented from escaping by extremist forces as the city continues to come under heavy bombardment by Iraqi forces.

In December, routes out of the city were cut off and civilians prevented from leaving. Since then, food has been in short supply, people are relying on expired rice and dried dates, and several starvation-related deaths have been reported, the spokesperson said.

In addition, families have had to rely on unsafe water sources, including drainage water from irrigation canals. Health facilities and medications are not available in the area, leading some families to reportedly use herbal medicine for the purpose of treatment,  Fleming said.

UNHCR and its partner, Muslim Aid, will distribute emergency relief items to families who have escaped Fallujah and are sheltering in one camp it has helped to set up in Amiriyat al-Falluja, in Anbar governorate.

The agency plans to open two new camps next week in Habbaniyah Tourist City, which will be able to accommodate 500 newly displaced families. The number of families who have escaped, however, is still very small, given the tens of thousands of people still trapped in the besieged city,  Fleming noted.

Inside Fallujah, there have been reports of a dramatic increase in the number of executions of men and older boys refusing to fight on behalf of extremist forces. Other reports say a number of people attempting to depart the city have been executed or whipped, and one man’s leg was reportedly amputated, the spokesperson said.

In addition, many people are reported to have been killed or buried alive under the rubble of their homes in the course of ongoing military operations.

“It is vital that safe routes are opened, allowing civilians access to safety and live-saving assistance,”  Fleming said.

She added that UNHCR and its partners have built extra shelters that are ready to assist newly displaced families and will distribute emergency supplies to provide them with some essential daily ite

Photo: UNHCR/Qusai Alazroni

 

Source: www.justearthnews.com

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm