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Mosul offensive: UN refugee agency prepares to receive 150,000 Iraqis fleeing the city

About 7,500 people have moved from the outskirts of Mosul to other locations, UN refugee agency chief Filippo Grandi said. In photo: Iraqi refugees who fled Mosul arrive in the desert area of Rajam al-Saliba on October 22, 2016. Photograph: (AFP)

Amman, Jordan Oct 24, 2016, 05.11 PM (IST)

The UN refugee agency's chief said on Monday it was preparing to receive 150,000 Iraqis fleeing the city of Mosul, Islamic State's last stronghold in Iraq.

 

"The preparations are proceeding well... UNHCR ( United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) is going to have in two or three days 30,000 tents in Iraq, enough for 150,000 people," Filippo Grandi told reporters in Jordan after visiting Iraq, news agency AFP reported. 

 

Last week, Iraqi forces launched a major offensive operation to retake the Islamic State's last major bastion in the country.

 

More than 3 million people have been displaced since the start of 2014 and a million more people could lose their homes in the offensive, UN's refugee agency fears.

 

Grandi said a key issue was "to find enough sites to be able to receive this huge mass of people should it come out of Mosul".

 

"Negotiations in this respect are going on with the government of Iraq and with the Kurdish regional government," he said, reported AFP.

 

About 7,500 people have moved from the outskirts of Mosul to other locations. The outflow of people has been from the outskirts and not the city of Mosul, Grandi added. "We have perhaps around 1,000 (people) that have crossed into Syria," he said.
 

(With inputs from AFP)

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