UN says Iraq humanitarian crisis at highest level

Tens of thousands displaced by Islamic extremists

Displaced Iraqis ride on a truck on a mountain road near the Turkish-Iraq border, outside Dahuk, in Iraq Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014 Islamic militants attacked the towns of Sinjar and Zunmar a few days ago. The extremist group's capture of a string of towns and villages in the north has sent minority communities fleeing for their lives. The Islamic state views members of the Yazidis minority and Shiite Muslims as apostates, and has demanded Christians either convert to Islam or pay a special tax. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
Displaced Iraqis ride on a truck on a mountain road near the Turkish-Iraq border, outside Dahuk, in Iraq Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014 Islamic militants attacked the towns of Sinjar and Zunmar a few days ago. The extremist group's capture of a string of towns and villages in the north has sent minority communities fleeing for their lives. The Islamic state views members of the Yazidis minority and Shiite Muslims as apostates, and has demanded Christians either convert to Islam or pay a special tax. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

BAGHDAD (AP) – The United Nations says the humanitarian crisis in Iraq has reached its highest level.

U.N. special representative Nickolay Mladenov said Wednesday that declaring Iraq a “Level 3 Emergency” will help trigger additional goods, funds and assets to respond to the needs of tens of thousands of people displaced by the Islamic State extremist group’s offensive.

He said Iraq was raised to the most serious level “given the scale and complexity of the current humanitarian catastrophe.”

Mladenov said tens of thousands of people are reportedly still trapped on Sinjar Mountain “with health conditions quickly deteriorating.” He said the situation in Dahuk, where more than 200,000 displaced Iraqis have fled, is also of “grave concern.”

Iraq is the U.N.’s fourth Level 3 humanitarian emergency, joining Syria, South Sudan and Central African Republic.

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