7 March 2017, Brussels – The European Commission is scaling up its response to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq with a new aid package in 2017 worth €42.5 million. The funding was announced today by the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides who is concluding his fifth visit to the country since taking office.
Speaking today from the Qayaarah camp for internally displaced people, Commissioner Stylianides said,“At this critical point in the battle to liberate Mosul, I am visiting the conflict areas to reiterate EU support and personally assess the needs. The humanitarian funds I announced will be instrumental to help the most vulnerable populations in active conflict areas including Mosul, Telafar and Hawidja, civilians in newly liberated areas and those forcibly displaced. I call again for the protection of all civilians during and after the conduct of hostilities and for humanitarian access to be guaranteed to all people in need, everywhere. This is essential both for saving lives and for future prospects of reconciliation and stability in Iraq and the whole region.”
The initial allocation for 2017 comes on top of over €159 million in humanitarian assistance that the European Commission has already made available in 2016 and the delivery of 266 tons of aid offered by countries through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism in response to Mosul emergency. EU aid is covering the essential needs of the most vulnerable in Iraq, including food, health care, water, sanitation and hygiene as well as protection, shelter and education in emergencies.
The humanitarian crisis in Iraq is one of the largest and most complex in the world. The challenges facing the country are enormous: in Mosul, the most intense warfare in a highly populated city since World War II, 11 million people in need, over 3 million internally displaced people and 1 million returnees in a country already stretched in its capacity. As many as 1 million people are estimated to remain beyond the reach of humanitarian aid, inside Mosul city and other areas still under Daesh control.
Since the beginning of the Mosul military operations, in October 2016, 230 000 people have been displaced, of whom 57 000 have returned to their places of origin – mainly to the eastern bank of Mosul city.
Since 2015, the European Commission has provided over € 309 million in humanitarian aid and enabled life-saving operations throughout the country, especially in hard-to-reach areas and locations directly affected by the conflict. The EU channels its substantial aid through partner organisations to where the needs are the highest and in full respect of humanitarian principles. In addition to its direct humanitarian funding, the European Commission supports the coordination and transport of direct material assistance offered by Participating States to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
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