“The sudden increase in displacement in early June follows both increased opportunities for families to flee as well as hundreds of other families demonstrating a willingness to take extremely high risks to try to escape, sometimes with grave consequences,” OCHA noted in the bulletin.
There are reports of people drowning as they tried to escape, or being injured or killed by snipers or improvised explosive devices. Many families are separated during their escape, with men and teenage boys being separated from their families for security screening, OCHA said.
The families still trapped inside Fallujah are thought to have only limited, if any, food, and there appear to be few sources of safe drinking water. The risk for disease outbreaks is high, OCHA noted.
While it is not clear how many civilians remain in the city, OCHA said that UN estimates indicate there could still be thousands of families.
“Nothing is more important than ensuring that civilians are protected and have access to life-saving assistance. The UN and partners continue to call on all parties to the conflict to do everything possible to meet their obligations under international humanitarian law,” OCHA said in the update.
Emergency response is ongoing in multiple locations
Most displaced people from Fallujah have been taken to Ameriyat al Falluja, a town located about 30 kilometres south of the city, where the Government of Iraq and partners had previously prepared tents as well as water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.
These camps are now full, although the Government and humanitarian partners are working to quickly set up others, including in the nearby towns of Khalidiyah and Habbaniyah Tourist City, OCHA said.