Air drops of relief supplies help thousands of displaced Iraqis

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The Khazair checkpoint between Iraq and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. Photo: Emma Beals/IRIN

Air drops of relief supplies, including food and water by the United States are helping the people trapped on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq, but their situation remains dire.

That's the assessment of Kieran Dwyer, Chief of Communications at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) who briefed reporters by phone on Monday.

Speaking from the city of Erbil in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, Mr. Dwyer said there is a deepening humanitarian crisis in the country as a result of attacks by the Islamic armed groups.

"We are on day nine of the crisis of when people largely from the Yezidi community but other minorities fled to Mount Sinjar in absolute fear of their lives. We have seen in this time that airdrops of food and water has been going on for some days now. We can confirm that the airdrops are having a very important positive effect to reach some of the trapped people but the situation for people still on the mountain is absolutely dire." (27")

Mr. Dwyer said since the armed groups intensified their violence on 9 June more than 600,000 people fled their homes, bringing the total number of displaced people in Iraq to over 1.2 million.

He described the situation in the country as a humanitarian catastrophe.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1’26″

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