UNITED NATIONS, May 1 (Xinhua) -- A group of 36 Yazidi survivors of Iraq have recently been rescued from slavery, having been held in captivity by the IS for nearly three years, a UN spokesperson said Monday.
The Yazidi women and girls are currently being cared for at dedicated service points set up by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with the support of the Dutch Government, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, at the daily news briefing.
The Yazidis are an ethnically Kurdish religious community or an ethno-religious group indigenous to northern Mesopotamia who are strictly endogamous. They live primarily in the Nineveh Province of Iraq.
They have been provided with first response assistance, including lodging, clothing, medical and psychological first aid, even as they are being reunited with their families, said Dujarric.
It is assessed that up to 1,500 women and girls remain in captivity and may be exposed to protracted sexual abuse by the IS.
"What these women and girls have endured is unimaginable," said the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande.
She added that the UN, through UNFPA, is going to do everything possible to provide the kind of specialised medical and psychological support they need.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that there was a big spike in the number of people fleeing western Mosul on Sunday, with double the number of people transiting through a screening site located south of Mosul.