UN chief: More funding needed for Iraq programs

HASSAN SHAM CAMP, Iraq (AP) " More funding is needed for U.N. programs in Iraq, the United Nations chief said Friday, and called for international solidarity with the people of Mosul.

An estimated 215,000 people are currently displaced as a result of the ongoing military operations to retake the city from the Islamic State group, according to the U.N.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited a camp for displaced persons about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Mosul on Friday. "These people have suffered enormously and they go on suffering," he said.

According to the U.N., $985 million is needed in 2017 in emergency funds to provide for the people displaced throughout Iraq. It said $7 million were needed to provide shelter for those who are expected to flee Mosul in the coming days alone.

Guterres said U.N. programs were funded at only 8 percent in Iraq this year.

Iraqi and Kurdish security forces launched an operation last October to retake Iraq's second largest city, which has been under IS control since 2014.

Guterres offered support for Iraq's fight against the Islamic State group during a visit to Baghdad on Thursday. At a joint news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, he condemned IS crimes against civilians and pledged continued aid.

Meanwhile, concern grows for the up to 750,000 people still thought to be staying in western Mosul, where fighting continues between government forces and Islamic State militants.

Hind Taha, a western Mosul resident, waited Friday at a food distribution point in western Mosul where the Iraqi military was handing out aid.

"There is no money, no market, no food. We are living just on aid," she said.

The U.N. says most western Mosul residents have no access to food or clean drinking water and other than the Iraqi military, no aid agencies have been able to access them because of intense fighting.

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Associated Press writer Mstyslav Chernov contributed from Mosul.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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