Humanitarian airlift with relief items for Syrian refugees in northern Iraq arrives in Erbil

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Thousands of people flowed from Syria across the Peshkhabour border crossing into Iraq’s Dohuk Governorate [UNHCR/G.Gubaeva]

Urgent relief items for the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) needed to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees who have crossed into northern Iraq, have arrived in Erbil, Iraq.

The WFP-chartered flight from the United Arab Emirates, carried 340 family tents for UNHCR, part of a generous contribution from the United States, 42 metric tons of high energy biscuits for WFP and 15 metric tons of special nutritional bars contributed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

More than 44,000 Syrian refugees have crossed into the Kurdish region of northern Iraq since 15 August; most of them are women and children sheltered in camps or collective facilities while others reside with family and friends.

A second flight was due in Erbil on Tuesday from Adana, Turkey, carrying 93 metric tons of food rations, enough to feed 11,500 people for three weeks. The UN food agency is also mobilizing more than 37,000 rations from around the region to feed up to 185,000 people for one month. Some 25 trucks carrying 500 metric tons of food supplies arrived Monday from Turkey to meet the urgent food need of refugees.

UNHCR Representative in Iraq Claire Bourgeois says "The continuing exodus of people fleeing Syria into Iraq over the last month has been unprecedented".

She adds that "With the support of the Government of the Kurdistan Region, UNHCR, WFP and our partners are in a race against time to meet the needs of the tens of thousands of new arrivals".

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1'32"

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