Update: Civilians continue to flee Falluja
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Around 3,700 people (624 families) have fled Falluja over the past week, since the new offensive by Iraqi forces to retake the city began, according to figures provided by authorities. Many of these people (about 1,300) are staying in the al-Iraq camp in the Ameriyat al –Falluja district, where UNHCR is working. Others are scattered in one of several other government-run camps in the district or staying with relatives. Iraqi forces are helping to transport families escaping the city, and have set up a hotline (195) to provide information to people wanting to leave.
UNHCR understands another 500 men and boys over 12-years-old are held for security screening which can take five to seven days. People are being released after this process, and we understand some 27 men were released yesterday (Monday 30 May)
UNHCR has received reports of casualties among civilians in the Falluja city centre due to heavy shelling, including seven members of one family on 28 May. There are also reports of several hundred families being used as human shields by ISIL, in the centre of Falluja.
For more information on this topic, please contact:
In Geneva, Ariane Rummery, +41 79 200 7617 [email protected]
In Bagdad, Caroline Gluck, +964 780 920 7286, [email protected]