The situation for civilians in Iraq is "ever-worsening," even though security in some places has improved as a result of stepped-up efforts by U.S.-led multinational forces, the international Red Cross said Wednesday.
Thousands of bodies lie unclaimed in mortuaries, with family members either unaware that they are there or too afraid to go to recover them, according to a key official with the neutral agency. Medical professionals also have been fleeing the country after cases where their colleagues were killed or abducted, the group said.
"Whatever operation that is today under way, and that may be taken tomorrow and in the weeks after, to improve the security of civilians on the ground may have an effect in the medium term," said Pierre Kraehenbuehl, director of operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross, or ICRC.
"We're certainly not seeing an immediate effect in terms of stabilization for civilians currently. That is not our reading," he said.
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