NEW YORK, August 12 (RIA Novosti) – As many as 35,000 people have fled to Iraqi Kurdistan via Syria after escaping from Mount Sinjar, which has been besieged by Islamic State (IS) militants, UN refugee agency UNHCR said in a statement issued Tuesday.
“The new arrivals are exhausted, dehydrated and many have suffered sun or heat stroke, with the daily temperatures reaching 40-45 degrees Celsius,” UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards was quoted as saying in Geneva.
The United Nations described a “massive influx” of thousands of people into Dohuk Governorate of Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq three days after they fled Sinjar Mountain, where their lives were under threat from the militants.
“People are moving to places including Zakho and Dohuk town where 16 school buildings have been made available. Food, water and medical care are being provided. As of now, an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people remain trapped on Sinjar Mountain without food, water or shelter. Access to these families is extremely limited,” the spokesperson added.
Dohuk province now hosts some 400,000 displaced Iraqis, including Yezidis, Christians, Shabak, Kakai, Armenian and Turkmen minorities. The Kurdish region hosts 700,000 displaced people, including some 220,000 Syrians. There are more than 1.2 million internally displaced people in Iraq.
The United States has launched airstrikes against the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS and ISIL. The Sunni Muslim group controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria and recent attacks on Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq have forced tens of thousands of Christians to flee their homes.