The war in Iraq has led to the greatest mass exodus of people ever in the Middle East and threatens to overtake Darfur in the numbers of displaced. A report by Oxfam International and the NGO Coordination Committee of Iraq concludes “the slide into poverty and deprivation since the coalition forces entered the country in 2003 has been dramatic, and a deep trauma for the Iraqi people.” One in seven Iraqis have fled for fear of being killed. More than 2 million are now in Syria and Jordan. Another 2 million are believed to be living away from their homes inside Iraq, often in makeshift camps. The report says 70 per cent of Iraqis don’t have adequate access to clean water, compared to 50 per cent four years ago. Humanitarian aid has also declined from $453 million in 2005 to less than $100 million last year. British journalist Patrick Cockburn writes in the Belfast Telegraph the United States “has 18 benchmarks to measure progress in Iraq but the return of 4 million people is not among them.” APTN cameras recorded the squalid conditions for internal refugees living near Najaf.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.