The number of displaced Iraqis could surge by up to 1 million within the coming months as fighting heats up around the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul and other hot spots, the Red Cross warned Friday in Geneva.
The new wave of fleeing people would create a massive humanitarian problem as it would come on top of the 3 million that have already been displaced within Iraq, according to the humanitarian organization.
"The situation is unpredictable but we must prepare for the worst. There's the likelihood that fighting will intensify, particularly in the Mosul area," said Robert Mardini, Middle East director of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Iraq forces backed by the US-led military coalition have been fighting around Iraq's second biggest city in recent weeks, after retaking territory from Islamic State extremists elsewhere in the country.
The Red Cross appealed to donors to provide an additional 17 million dollars to provide water, food and medical aid to people who are caught up in the fighting.
In recent months, Islamic State has suffered major military setbacks and lost ground in Iraq under pressure from the US-backed military campaign.