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April 9, 2008

The Iraqi Refugee Crisis: Familiar Problems and New Challenges

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Emergency Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Dr Mowafi); and Public Health and HIV Section, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland (Dr Spiegel).

JAMA. 2008;299(14):1713-1715. doi:10.1001/jama.299.14.1713

A major refugee crisis is taking place in the Middle East. More than 4.2 million Iraqis (1 in 7) have been displaced from their homes.1 More than 2 million refugees are in neighboring countries, including 1.2 million in Syria1 (population 19.3 million2) and 800 000 in Jordan1 (population 6 million2). The crisis represents the largest displacement in the region's history since the Palestinian crisis and one of the largest caseloads ever dealt with by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).