BAGHDAD, Aug. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Some 70,000 people have fled fighting in central Iraq in search of safety, according to the global organization Mercy Corps. The massive movement of civilians comes as forces advance on the city of Mosul, an ISIS stronghold.
"We expect that an additional 200,000 people will be on the move within the next two weeks," says Su'ad Jarbawi, Mercy Corps' country director in Iraq. "The journey is dangerous; families leave extreme conflict and are exposed to temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). They lack access to water, food and other basic essentials. When they reach safety, there is limited support in host communities already overstretched by the ongoing conflict."
Mercy Corps is providing displaced families with cash assistance to enable them to purchase what they need once they reach safety. "We believe cash distributions are the most rapid, efficient and dignified manner of providing humanitarian aid," says Jarbawi. "Even a small amount of cash lets people choose how they prioritize their individual needs – and this kind of program infuses cash into the local economy."
"We are working hard to mobilize our network of local partners and Iraqi youth volunteers as quickly as possible to meet the needs of those escaping the violence and looking to build better lives," she says.
Mercy Corps has operated continuously in Iraq since 2003, and since then has provided assistance to 5 million Iraqis affected by war, violence and displacement in all 18 governorates. Mercy Corps is currently addressing the needs of conflict-affected populations, including displaced Iraqi civilians, refugees from Syria and Iraqi host communities.
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SOURCE Mercy Corps