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Humanitarian Disaster strikes Fallujah: About 60,000 people flee to escape IS-held city in Iraq

Iraqi fighters face snipers and bombs as they fight to eliminate IS militants from the city they have held for more than two years

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Iraqi soldiers help civilians, who fled from Falluja because of Islamic State violence, during a dust storm on the outskirts of Fallujah, Iraq, June 18, 2016. Image source: Reuters
  • The number of people who have managed to leave the city has topped 60,000
  • People from Fallujah have managed to find refuge in warehouses or mosques as refugee camps become full
  • PM Haider al Abadi declared the Iraqi forces had been victorious in their fight to take control of the city

Exhausted, hungry and desperate, 30,000 people have poured out of Fallujah in the past three days as Iraqi forces stormed into the center of the city, pushing Islamic State fighters into the northwest of the city.

Despite the searing Iraqi summer heat, many of those who have escaped are sleeping out in the open as refugee camps are now full. Others have managed to find refuge in warehouses or mosques.

Norwegian Refugee Council staff provide drinking water for Iraqis from Fallujah at Amariyat al-Fallujah displacement camp. Photo: Karl Schembri/NRC. Image source: Reuters
Norwegian Refugee Council staff provide drinking water for Iraqis from Fallujah at Amariyat al-Fallujah displacement camp. Photo: Karl Schembri/NRC. Image source: Reuters

The number of people who have managed to leave the city has topped 60,000.

Appeal to government

The Norwegian Refugee Council, which is providing emergency food rations and bottled water to thousands of people, said the sheer numbers and a lack of camp coordination has made it difficult to reach all the newly arrived families.

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“We implore the Iraqi government to take charge of this humanitarian disaster unfolding on our watch,” said NRC Country Director Nasr Muflahi in a statement.

Iraqi army soldiers hold Iraqi flag on a top of a military vehicle in the centre of Fallujah, Iraq, June 18, 2016. Image source: Reuters
Iraqi army soldiers hold Iraqi flag on a top of a military vehicle in the centre of Fallujah, Iraq, June 18, 2016. Image source: Reuters

“We cannot continue to provide aid when we do not even know who is where and what they need,” Muflahi said.

Prime Minister Haider al Abadi declared the Iraqi forces had been victorious in their fight to take control of the city.

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But in Fallujah, Iraqi fighters face snipers and bombs as they fight to eliminate IS militants from the city they have held for more than two years.

Some militants reportedly have sent their wives and children out of the city with the refugees. (VOA)

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Here’s how People Themselves Become the Source of Misinformation

People can self-generate their own misinformation

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Misinformation
Sometimes, you yourself can become the source of misinformation. Pixabay

Do not blame partisan news outlets and political blogs for feeding you fake news as there’s another surprising source of misinformation on controversial topics — it is you.

A new study has found that people, given accurate statistics on a controversial issue, tended to misremember those numbers to fit commonly held beliefs.

For example, when people are shown that the number of Mexican immigrants in the US declined recently – which is true but goes against many people’s beliefs – they tend to remember the opposite.

And when people pass along this misinformation they created, the numbers can get further and further from the truth.

“People can self-generate their own misinformation. It doesn’t all come from external sources,” said Jason Coronel, lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at The Ohio State University.

“They may not be doing it purposely, but their own biases can lead them astray. And the problem becomes larger when they share their self-generated misinformation with others”.

The researchers conducted two studies to confirm this.In the first study, they presented 110 participants with short written descriptions of four societal issues that involved numerical information.

Fake news
People generate fake news in order to fit commonly held beliefs. Pixabay

The researchers found that people usually got the numerical relationship right on the issues for which the stats were consistent with how many people viewed the world.

In the second study, the researchers investigated how these memory distortions could spread and grow more distorted in everyday life. Coronel said the study did have limitations.

For example, it is possible that the participants would have been less likely to misremember if they were given explanations as to why the numbers didn’t fit expectations.

The researchers didn’t measure each person’s biases going in – they used the biases that had been identified by pre-tests they conducted.

But the results did suggest that we shouldn’t worry only about the misinformation that we run into in the outside world, Poulsen said in a paper published in the journal Human Communication Research.

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“We need to realize that internal sources of misinformation can possibly be as significant as or more significant than external sources,” she said.

“We live with our biases all day, but we only come into contact with false information occasionally”. (IANS)