UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that the humanitarian situation has further deteriorated in Iraq, as armed clashes continue to drive the displacement of civilians fleeing the violence, including in Erbil city in the north part of the Middle East country, a UN spokesman said here Friday.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is working with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to provide assistance there.
"The number of those displaced remains fluid and unverified," Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesman, said at a daily news briefing here. "An estimated 50,000 people are believed to be trapped on Sinjar Mountain, and over 200,000 are estimated to have made their way to Dahuk governorate over the past 72 hours."
At the UN briefing in Geneva earlier Friday, WFP said that it has set up three emergency field kitchens in Dahuk to urgently cater to the needs of the increasing number of displaced people arriving from Sinjar. The kitchens have helped WFP provide food to 75,000 people since Aug. 4.
The crisis gripping Iraq escalated rapidly on Thursday with a re-energized Islamic State in Iraq and Levant storming new towns in the north and seizing a strategic dam as Iraq's most formidable military force, the Kurdish pesh merga, was routed in the face of the onslaught.
Tens of thousands of refugees fled into the mountains, perhaps hoping to reach the Kurdish region in north Iraq, but were trapped because of militant activity between the mountain and the Kurdish area, and were running short on food and water.