IRAQ - HOMELESS PROMPT FEARS OF SOCIAL CRISIS - WOMEN & CHILDREN
Half a million displaced Iraqis face grim future in squalid squatter camps.
ICR Issue 338, 27 May 10
By Ali Kareem - Iraq
Squatter camps such as this one outside the city of Suleimaniyah are on the rise across Iraq, according to new reports from international aid agencies.
Photo: Tracey Shelton
The alarming spread of illegal squatter settlements has aid groups fearful of a looming social crisis, one which a senior United Nations official considers “the greatest humanitarian problem facing Iraq”.
Recent reports from two international agencies found that of Iraq’s 1.5 million internally displaced people, or IDPs, at least 500,000 have been forced to dwell in squalid squatter camps without access to health care or public services............
Interviews by IWPR confirmed the rising numbers of squatter settlements and found that conditions in the camps continue to deteriorate as numbers swell. Although IDPs who fled their homes due to war and sectarian conflict have long been a problem in Iraq, many who spoke to IWPR said they had sheltered in camps due to extreme poverty and joblessness.
The problem appears to be growing for a number of new reasons, among them the drought and the many people who have lost their livelihoods. Many refugees who returned recently from other countries have ended up in camps......
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