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Refugee crisis growing in Iraq

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
updated 2:57 PM EST, Fri January 24, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More than 65,000 have fled Falluja and Ramadi in past week
  • This is on top of more than 1.1 million internally displaced persons
  • More violence was recorded in Iraq Friday with seven reported killed

(CNN) -- As violence again roils Iraq, the United Nations reported more than 65,000 people had fled conflict areas in the past week.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said in a report that those Iraqis fled from the cities of Falluja and Ramadi in Iraq's central Anbar province.

More than 140,000 people have been made homeless since new fighting broke out at the end of 2013, according to Iraq's Ministry of Displacement and Migration.

It is the largest displacement in Iraq since the sectarian violence of 2006-2008.

That figure adds to the 1.13 million people already internally displaced and mostly residing in Baghdad, Diyala and Ninewa provinces.

Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the refugee agency, told reporters in Geneva that its staff and other people in Anbar had reported many civilians were unable to leave conflict-affected areas where food and fuel were in short supply.

"Most of the recently displaced remain outside Falluja city, accommodated by relatives or staying in schools, mosques and hospitals where resources are running low," he said. "Host families are having difficulties sustaining the burden of caring for the displaced."

More violence was recorded on Friday.

Seven people were killed and nine others were hurt in separate incidents when Iraqi Army mortars landed in residential areas in Falluja, health officials there told CNN.

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