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Agency: Millions more in aid needed for Iraqi refugees

  • Story Highlights
  • U.N. agency says lack of funding threatens aid programs for Iraqi refugees
  • The UNHCR said it's burdened by higher prices for fuel, food and rent
  • In other Iraq news, no injuries reported in rocket hit on BBC Baghdad bureau
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(CNN) -- Hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis may have to go without food or health care unless foreign aid increases, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday.

"We will not be able to help hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable Iraqi refugees and internally displaced if we do not receive funding for the remainder of 2008," said Antonio Guterres, U.N. high commissioner for refugees.

"Without this support, the humanitarian crisis we have faced over the past two years may grow even larger," Guterres said.

More than 2.7 million Iraqis have been displaced inside Iraq since 2003, and more than 2 million have left the country, most fleeing to Syria and Jordan.

The UNHCR tries to help governments strained by the refugee influx by providing food and health care for refugees.

Earlier this year, the UNHCR received $134 million of $261 million in requested aid. The agency says the only way to make up the difference is to secure more money from governments or cut programs.

The UNHCR said it's burdened by higher prices for fuel, food and rent.

The increased costs have also threatened health programs.

"By August, UNHCR will not be able to cover all basic health needs of Iraqis, and many serious and chronically ill Iraqis will not be able to receive their monthly medication," it said.

Other developments

• A U.S. soldier died Friday of non-combat related injuries, a military statement said. The soldier was a member of the Army's Multi-National Division - Center. No other details were released regarding the soldier's death.

• All pedestrian and vehicular traffic in Mosul will be banned from 9 p.m. Friday until further notice. The curfew precedes a large-scale military operation, Nineveh province's Deputy Gov. Khasro Goran told CNN. But two Nineveh security officials said the ban was a precautionary move after authorities received intelligence indicating "a large number of car bombs" had entered the city. The U.S. military would not comment.

• A rocket strike blasted a hole in the roof of the BBC's Baghdad bureau Friday. No one was injured.

• The U.S. military said Friday that 12 people were killed in battles in Sadr City on Thursday. Soldiers targeted rocket teams and armed militants in those fights.

• In another Baghdad incident, a parked car bomb blew up in the Harthiya neighborhood of western Baghdad, wounding five people.

• In northern Iraq, troops on Friday killed one militant and detained eight others in Baiji and Mosul during raids targeting al Qaeda in Iraq.

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