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Military, Iraqi Government Ready to Help Displaced Iraqis

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2004 – Despite the conflict inside Fallujah and instability in other Iraqi cities, Iraqi government and Multinational Force Iraq leaders say they are ready to take the necessary measures if a humanitarian crisis arises.

In Fallujah, some reports estimate that nearly half of the city's 300,000 people may have fled. However, they emphasized that there is "no humanitarian crisis at this time."

"The Iraqi government, in coordination with MNFI, stands ready to coordinate and resolve any large-scale humanitarian issues that might arise during and after operations in Fallujah and other locations," military officials said in press statement issued today.

The release said the Iraqi government -- specifically, the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Industry and Minerals -- along with the U.S. military and the international community are "working together, and are prepared in the event it becomes necessary."

The release added that MNFI is prepared to coordinate nongovernmental organization movement into the operating environment should it be required, and that humanitarian assistance centers in bordering Jordan and Kuwait are staffed, equipped and poised to respond and assist in any humanitarian situation. "Coordination and communication with all parties is ongoing," the MNF statement said.

Though many residents have fled Fallujah, officials said most have temporary arrangements. "Initial reports indicate that these individuals are doing well, and are either staying with relatives or making use of public buildings or shelters until operations are complete."

Meanwhile, military officials said the international community continues to assess the situation in Fallujah and across the country for problems, and "stands ready to implement the necessary measures to help the people of Fallujah, and other stressed areas."

(Based on a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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