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UN Says 90,000 Displaced By Violence In Iraq's Anbar, Crisis 'Dramatic'

The United Nations says more than 90,000 people have been displaced by fighting between Iraqi government forces and Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq's western province of Anbar.

Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, said in a statement on April 19 "the situation is dramatic" and only urgent humanitarian assistance can save lives.

She said the top priority is delivering life-saving assistance -- food, water, and shelter -- to thousands of people fleeing their homes "carrying what little they can and rushing for safety."

IS militants suffered a major defeat this month when Iraqi troops and Shi'ite paramilitaries routed them from the city of Tikrit, but they struck back in Anbar.

Provincial officials warned earlier this week the provincial capital, Ramadi, was in danger of falling to the militants.

Iraqi forces are preparing to mount a counteroffensive to reverse IS advances in Ramadi after military reinforcements were sent from Baghdad, officials said.

At least 2.7 million Iraqis have been displaced across the country since January 2014, including 400,000 from Anbar.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters

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