Food crisis in southern Iraq worsening, U.N. agency says

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Special Envoy Angelina Jolie (2nd L) meets displaced Iraqis who are members of the minority Christian community, living in an abandoned school in Al Qosh, northern Iraq January 26, 2015. REUTERS/UNHCR/Andrew McConnell/Handout via Reuters

ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A food crisis is unfolding in southern Iraq, where thousands of internally displaced refugees who have moved there from other parts of the country do not have enough to eat, a United Nations agency said on Tuesday.

“Violence continues to cause ongoing displacement in central, western and northern areas of Iraq,” WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Kurdish forces are battling the Sunni Islamist group ISIS in part of northern Iraq.

“We are gravely concerned about food security and the humanitarian situation.”

Internally displaced people who cannot reach the Kurdish controlled north, or who cannot afford to stay there because of rising prices and overcrowding, are fleeing to the south, Byrs said.

Many are living in unoccupied public buildings or mosques that local authorities have provided as shelter, or with host communities.

Most of the families who moved to the south said they spent their meager savings on transport to get there, the WFP said…