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Increasing Concern Over Kurds - Iraq-Jordan Border

UN Refugee Agency ˜Increasingly Concerned” Over Kurds On Iraq-Jordan Border

The United Nations refugee agency today voiced growing concern over the desperate state of a group of 102 Iranian Kurds, including at least five pregnant women and a large number of children, who have been marooned for up to four weeks on the Iraqi-Jordanian border without access to official food, medical or material assistance.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has so far not been allowed to bring aid from Jordan to the refugees on the Iraqi side of the border, who have not been permitted to enter Jordan or join another group of 660 mostly Iranian Kurds living in a camp in no-man's land between the two countries for the past year-and-a-half.

UNHCR “will continue to impress on both the Iraqi and the Jordanian authorities that this group should, at the very least, receive some food and material assistance, as well as medical attention, without further delay,” spokesman Ron Redmond told a news briefing in Geneva.

The Kurds, from the 20-year old refugee camp at Al Tash in the violence-torn Fallujah region of Iraq, are believed to be surviving on the charity of passers-by, a situation that will clearly not be tenable for much longer given the recent very harsh weather with freezing temperatures and strong winds.

In addition to the women and children, there are believed to be some disabled and sick people among the group, but no medical team has been able to visit them so far.

UNHCR has been exploring with the Iraqi authorities the possibility of supplying them from the Iraqi side, not an easy option. A mission is being planned by health and migration officials to bring basic relief items from agency stocks in Baghdad.

The agency has also discussed two options with the Jordanian authorities
admission or the transport of assistance across the border.

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