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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Group Says Iraqis Need Urgent Aid

LONDON -- About 8 million Iraqis -- nearly one-third of the population -- need immediate emergency aid because of the humanitarian crisis caused by the Iraq war, relief agencies said Monday.

Those Iraqis are in urgent need of water, sanitation, food and shelter, said a report by Oxfam and the NGO Coordination Committee network in Iraq.

The report said 15 percent of Iraqis cannot regularly afford to eat; 70 percent are without adequate water supplies (up from 50 percent in 2003); 28 percent of children are malnourished (compared with 19 percent before the 2003 invasion); and 92 percent of Iraqi children suffer learning problems.

The report also said more than 2 million people -- mostly women and children -- had been displaced within Iraq and that 2 million had fled the country, mostly to neighboring Syria and Jordan.

"Basic services, ruined by years of war and sanctions, cannot meet the needs of the Iraqi people," said Jeremy Hobbs, the director of Oxfam International. "Millions of Iraqis have been forced to flee the violence, either to another part of Iraq or abroad. Many of those are living in dire poverty."

He urged Iraq, the United Nations and the international community to do more to help Iraqis, despite the risk of the war's widespread violence.

"Western donors must work through Iraqi and international aid organizations and develop more flexible systems to ensure these organizations operate effectively and efficiently," Hobbs said.