Iraqi humanitarian crisis further worsens
BAGHDAD: (APP) Up to one million more Iraqis risk being displaced within weeks as government forces battle the Islamic State jihadist group in areas including the northern city of Mosul, the Red Cross said Friday.
They would join more than three million Iraqis who have already been driven from their homes by violence over the past two-and-a-half years.
Iraqi forces are conducting operations aimed at setting the stage for an assault on Mosul, the country's second city that has been held by IS since June 2014.
Mosul was once home to some two million people, but the current population has been estimated at around half that figure.
The operation to retake the far smaller city of Fallujah, located much closer to Baghdad, pushed tens of thousands of people to flee, catching the aid community flat-footed and leaving many people in appalling conditions.
The scale of displacement as Iraqi forces fight to retake Mosul will be much larger, and people may flee to areas that could be much more difficult for relief agencies to reach.