Twenty five thousand people have fled the Iraqi city of Ramadi - mostly towards Baghdad - after it was attacked by ISIS, the United Nations said on Monday.
Ramadi fell to ISIS a few days earlier, causing the UN and other aid agencies to begin distributing food, water and medical supplies as well as setting up temporary camps and latrines for those fleeing the city, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Iraq told Reuters.
However, funds for aid operations in Iraq were running out and aid stocks were almost gone, it said.
"Nothing is more important right now than helping the people fleeing Ramadi. They are in trouble and we need to do everything possible to help them," the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande, said.
I hopes of recapturing Ramadi Shiite militia fighters arrived near the city on Monday. In addition, 1,000 fighters from Anbar tribal forces have been trained and armed for the impending counter-attack of the Iraqi joint forces against ISIS in Ramadi, said the provincial council on Monday.
Abadi on Sunday ordered the Hashd al-Shaabi to gear up to take part in the campaign to recapture Ramadi.
"The Iraqi Army has formed two regiments of Anbar tribal fighters who had previously joined Hashd al-Shaabi in Anbar and were being trained at the Habbaniyah military base in the east of Ramadi,” said the statement, adding that “The regiments consist of 1,000 fighters and all of them are from the Anbar tribes.”
According to the statement, these newly armed regiments received military training and are well-prepared to take part in the battle for Ramadi along with the Iraqi army and the Shiite militias known collectively as the Hashd al-Shaabi.
Prior to the attack on Ramadi, Iraq’s prime minister ordered the country's security forces not to abandon their positions. Even so, some troops reportedly left their weapons and vehicles to flee the militants' arrival in the embattled city.