Girls look through a fence at a refugee camp in Mosul April 5, 2007. About 250 families moved from Tal Afar town to camps in Mosul since last weeks' violence attacks. REUTERS/Khaled al-Mousuly (IRAQ)
Later this week, representatives of 192 countries and nongovernmental organizations will gather in Geneva for The International Conference on Addressing the Humanitarian Needs of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons inside Iraq and Neighboring Countries. Shining a light on the conditions of Iraqi refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, this meeting will attempt to raise emergency funds to provide the most basic care for these victims of our invasion and occupation of their country. And this week, we have information on how we can help as well.
Many of those most in need are children like the young girls seen above – they have no voice in the machinations of governments and militia. World Vision has interviewed four Iraqi refugee children in order to bring their voices to the conference – and you can listen to their stories here: Iraq Children Trapped.
Iraq Bleeds , the UNHCR magazine for the conference, describes the situation as follows:
The socio-economic and security indicators coming out of Iraq make stark reading. The average number killed each day was – at least up until February – believed to be around 100. Two out of five adults are traumatized. Fifty percent of the working population is unemployed. Many schools have closed because of insecurity. Thousands of doctors, teachers and other professionals have been murdered. Many of the rest have fled.
The problems facing Iraq's neighbours are daunting: during 2006, the quiet but constant stream of people leaving Iraq turned into a steady torrent, with tens of thousands per month crossing the borders into Syria and Jordan.
By early 2007, two million Iraqis on top of some four million long-term Palestinian refugees had made the Middle East easily the biggest refugee-hosting region in the world. Add in the nearly 2 million displaced people inside Iraq, and the problem becomes gigantic.
For this reason, the UN refugee agency and others began to speak out with increasing urgency during the latter part of 2006: Jordan, Syria and the other countries in the region need help and they need it fast. The Iraqi refugees are rapidly plunging deeper into poverty and despair. The pressures are building inexorably across the board.