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Aid agency fears 'human catastrophe' in Fallujah

Iraqi security forces gather near Falluja Credit: Reuters / Alaa Al-Marjani

A Norwegian aid agency has warned of a "human catastrophe" unfolding in the Iraq city of Fallujah.

Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said only one family had managed to escape the besieged town on Monday.

"Warring parties must guarantee civilians safe exit now, before it's too late and more lives are lost", Egeland said.

Egeland's comments come on the day Iraqi forces repelled a four-hour counterattack, a day after entering the southern part of the city.

He added a lack of food, medicine, safe drinking water and electricity is "pushing families to the brink of desperation".

It is estimated that 50,000 civilians are still inside Fallujah and humanitarian groups have renewed calls on both sides to open up safe corridors for non-combatants to flee.

This appears unlikely as IS and the Iraqi forces need to agree on a cessation of hostilities - whilst Iraqi authorities want to prevent IS fighters from escaping the city by mixing with the fleeing civilian population.

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Veteran Archers actor Alan Devereux dies

Alan Devereux pictured in The Old Bull pub, which inspired The Bull in The Archers' village of Ambridge. Credit: PA

Veteran Archers actor Alan Devereux, who played the role of Sid Perks for nearly 50 years, has died, according to the BBC.

Sean O'Connor, editor of the BBC Radio 4 soap opera, paid tribute to the actor, who he said possessed a voice of "genuine" authenticity.

Mr Devereux debuted on the airwaves on September 30 1963 as the teenage tearaway who would later become the landlord of The Bull pub. He played the role until the character's death in 2010.

"As an actor, Alan was adept at both intense drama as well as dead-pan comedy," Mr O'Connor said.

"He was a wonderful member of The Archers' family in Birmingham and will be deeply missed."

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