"Dramatic" worsening of humanitarian conditions in Iraq: senior UN official

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UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Kyung-wha Kang (left), visits the Harshm IDP camp in Erbil, Iraq. Photo: OCHA Iraq

The humanitarian situation in Iraq is getting "dramatically" worse, according to a senior UN relief official who is visiting the country.

Kyung-wha Kang, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said that the human cost of the crisis was "devastating" and called on more international support for civilians caught up in extremist conflict areas.

Matthew Wells reports.

Ms Kang told the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) while on a visit to Baghdad and the northern city of Erbil, that millions were in need, and at risk.

She said help was especially needed to rebuild areas that had been retaken from the ISIL terrorist group, so that people could return "voluntarily and safely."

She added that she had met women who had "lost virtually everything" after being displaced by the extremist terrorists, and she said that the entire aid operation in Iraq was being placed at risk by insecurity.

She said the international community needed to help the faltering economy of the Kurdistan region, which has become a refuge for many of the minority communities fleeing ISIL.

According to the UN, 10 million Iraqis are now in need of some kind of humanitarian assistance, with 3.2 million internally displaced since January of last year.

OCHA said that aid response efforts were critically underfunded.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 55"


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