THE plight of people displaced by the Iraq war is getting worse, refugee experts warn.
Five years after the US-led invasion, a House of Representatives subcommittee heard that serious problems persist for the 2.5 million people displaced inside Iraq and the 2 million who have fled to other countries.
Even though the numbers have levelled off, ambassador Lawrence Foley said the most critical problem was worsening poverty among those displaced inside Iraq and in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey.
Mr Foley, senior co-ordinator for Iraqi refugee issues at the State Department, said Iraqis in other countries are often forbidden to work and so have depleted any remaining family resources.
Gregory Gottlieb, deputy assistant administrator for USAID's bureau for democracy, conflict and humanitarian assistance, said: "Iraq's IDP (internally displaced persons) and refugee crisis is deepening."
In 2007, he said, 60% of internally displaced people reported not receiving any food aid since becoming displaced and 20% reported seeking shelter in informal settlements with no clean water or electricity.
Iraqi children run to receive snacks from US Army Captain Jim Hathaway during a patrol in Wahida, south-east of Baghdad.
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