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Last Updated: Monday, 22 January 2007, 10:13 GMT
Warnings of Iraq refugee crisis
Displaced Iraqi girl in makeshift shelter near Baghdad
For many the refugee trail starts in makeshift shelters in Baghdad
Aid workers have warned of a growing crisis for refugees who have fled Iraq.

A humanitarian spokesman told the BBC that neighbouring countries where most Iraqis have fled to are closing their doors "one by one" to Iraqis.

About 2m Iraqis live in increasingly difficult conditions in countries like Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon.

The rest of the world has almost completely ignored the problem and the crisis is coming to a head, spokesman Kasaram Mufarah said.

"Most of the borders of the neighbouring countries of Iraq are very difficult to pass," Mr Kasaram, who co-ordinates the work of aid agencies in Iraq, said.

"And the western countries are becoming more and more difficult, so it seems that the doors are closing one by one around the world on the face of Iraqis."

In Syria: <1,000,000
In Jordan: <700,000
In Egypt: 20,000-80,000 (estimate)
In Lebanon: <40,000
Internally displaced: 1,700,000
Source: UNHCR

The BBC's Jon Leyne says Jordan is severely restricting the number of refugees it is letting in.

This is partly for security reasons and partly because the country is already dealing with nearly one million Iraqi refugees.

There is little or no money allocated and Britain and the United States only accept a tiny number of Iraqis seeking political asylum or resettlement.


Earlier this month, the UN refugee body appealed for $60m (30.8m, 45m euros) in emergency aid for those fleeing the violence in Iraq - the largest long-term displacement of people since the uprooting of Palestinians during the creation of Israel in 1948.

The UNHCR says about 12% of Iraqis have fled their homes due to the violence that has spread through the country since the 2003 US-led invasion.

Many refugees live in conditions of acute poverty.

In Syria, almost a third of Iraqi refugee children do not go to school.

The UN says that there is growing evidence of women turning to prostitution.

In addition to refugees, the UN estimates 1.7 million live within Iraq's borders as displaced people, a number that could reach 2.7m by the end of 2007.

Map of Iraqi migration

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