UN appeal to help displaced people in Iraq to make it through the winter

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A boy stands in front of supplies at a World Food Program distribution site in the Mala Omar area of Erbil Governorate, in northern Iraq. Credit: OCHA/Iason Athanasiadis

Almost 1.3 million people in Iraq desperately need help to survive the winter, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The organization has appealed for US$ 173.1 million to provide basic needs, such as shelter and warm clothing, for those who have been forced to flee from their homes.

Jens Laerke, spokesperson for OCHA, says that the situation for the displaced in Iraq is disastrous:

"Winter has arrived in many parts of the country and hundreds of thousands of displaced people are being hit with heavy rains, storms and dropping temperatures, especially at night and especially in the mountain areas of the Kurdistan region of Iraq. 1.9 million people have been displaced across Iraq since the beginning of the year and nearly half of them are in the high altitude areas of the Kurdistan region, where the temperatures will drop below zero."  (30″)

OCHA says that more than half a million Iraqis are in need of immediate aid, such as weather-appropriate tents, warm clothing, food, heating and cooking fuel, and health services. An estimated 1.1 million children will require additional care during the winter months due to acute respiratory infections and chronic diseases.

Overall, the United Nations has appealed for US$ 2.2 billion to address the humanitarian and protection needs of some 5.2 million Iraqis, who face ongoing violence and insecurity.

Nicki Chadwick, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration:  1’36″

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