US$497 million emergency appeal launched for Iraq

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Iraqis displaced from Ramadi District in Anbar Governorate. Photo: UN Iraq

Nearly US$500 million is needed to prevent the immediate closure of vital aid operations to millions of Iraqis, the UN announced Thursday.

The funding shortfall has already forced 77 frontline health clinics to close, while food rations have been cut back for more than one million people.

Violence between government forces and ISIL rebels has forced nearly three million people from their homes and left them scattered in more than 3,000 locations across the country.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Launching the appeal with the European Parliament in Brussels, senior UN officials explained how the aid operation is hanging by a thread.

Humanitarian coordinator for Iraq Lise Grande warned that more than 50 per cent of the relief effort "will be shut down or cut back if money is not received immediately".

More than eight million people need lifesaving support in Iraq as Isis separatists confront government forces, and that number is expected to grow to 10 million by the end of the year.

In addition, more than three million people have been displaced.

Also at the appeal, UN Assistant Secretary-General Kyung-Wha Kang described how many families have had to move several times to stay one step ahead of horrific violence.

UN health agency chief Dr Margaret Chan echoed that message and warned that public services for health, water, and sanitation are collapsing.

The national supply chain for essential medicines has broken down, Dr Chan said, while crowded, unsanitary conditions have created a high risk of infectious disease.

Amid escalating conflict, the near US$500 million appeal will help the UN and partners to provide shelter, food, water and other life-saving services for the next six months.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1'06"

 

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