can’t see the forest

UN: ‘Abject Denial’ of Iraqi Refugee Problems

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The BBC reports:

The UN faces an enormous task in helping countries such as Jordan and Syria cope with the huge influx of Iraqi refugees, a spokesman said.

He said the international community had to step in to help address their food, health and education needs.

Syria says it is home to 1.2m Iraqi refugees with up to 800,000 in Jordan.

Damascus has repeatedly called for help to deal with the problem.

“There has been an abject denial of the impact, the humanitarian impact, of the war, the huge displacement within Iraq of up to 1.9 million people who are homeless because of the war, and those people who are homeless and never got back to the homes after Saddam Hussein was overthrown,” UNHCR spokesman Peter Kessler said.

Many of the refugees need considerable support, and about a quarter of them are children who need education.

Many need food and healthcare, some need counselling because of the violence they have experienced or witnessed, while others need jobs.

“There’s a need for governments to come in and address the health, the education, all the needs,” Mr Kessler said.

“Food aid needs as well are becoming vital because the population is becoming further and further impoverished since they cannot work.

“So clearly in every area, there’s a need to support what the main host governments are doing and then to gird ourselves for what could be, if the war is prolonged, an increasing movement further west-wards.”

While U.S. and multinational oil conglomerates and defense contractors are reaping vast rewards from the occupation of Iraq, it is the United Nations and the ‘international community’ who are expected to sweep in and clean up the mess.

But this isn’t just “a mess;” these are real people, with real needs. Mention of the millions of Iraqi homeless was, unsurprisingly, missing from President Bush’s typically evasive address on the fourth anniversary of the occupation.

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