Iraq strains under largest internal refugee crisis since height of war – CS monitor

My story for Christian Science Monitor on the displacement crisis in Iraq, a result of the ongoing fighting in Anbar province which began at the end of December. In January, I also reported on the displacement for IRIN news. At that point, agencies estimated that 70,000 people had been displaced – now the figure stands at 370,000.

Government forces are trying to retake the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar from militant groups, who entered the cities after security forces stormed a Sunni protest camp in Ramadi. Anbar tribes are also fighting, some with and some against government troops. Local people are caught in the crossfire and growing numbers are seeking shelter elsewhere.

I met families staying at the New City Motel – some of an estimated 5,000 families who’ve arrived in Erbil so far. An astonishing 85 per cent Fallujah’s population have now fled their homes.

Photo by Younes Mohammad. Sena Mohamed and her family sit on a sofa in the Al Raha hotel in Erbil after leaving their home in Fallujah.