The rate at which the situation in Iraq has deteriorated is the largest reason why it is being called one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent years.
The worst of it commenced in June, when the Islamic State (then ISIS) took Mosul. Today, the number of displaced Iraqis is at 1.5 million — small in comparison to Syria’s 6.5 million — but almost 600,000 of them fled their homes in the past two months.
The other factor that makes this conflict increasingly difficult is the widespread instability in neighboring countries. Jordan and Turkey were already hosting huge amounts of refugees. Still, some refugees had no choice but to leave Iraq. Ariane Rummery, a UNHCR communications officer, said that “some people are actually seeking refuge in Syria, which has been so wrecked.”
The current state of Iraq and the quick escalation in aid the region needs has made this the worst crisis Rummery has seen in the past 10 years.
The United Nations refugee agency has launched a land, air and sea aid push to address the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, one that the organization says is one of the worst it has seen in recent years. There are about 12 sites in northern Iraq that are providing humanitarian shelter for about 140,000 people, but due to continued unrest, the demand could increase very quickly.