A third of Iraqis "urgently require" aid, says head of UN mission

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Ján Kubiš, Special Representative for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) at Security Council meeting on the situation in Iraq. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Almost a third of all Iraqis "urgently require" some form of humanitarian assistance.

That's according to the head of the UN Mission in the country, UNAMI, in a briefing to Security Council members on Tuesday.

Ján Kubiš said that Iraqi forces were "heroically" gaining ground against the terrorist group ISIL, but that a lack of political consensus was hampering national recovery.

The UN Secretary-General also joined his special representative in condemning the murder of an Iraqi UNAMI staff member.

Matthew Wells reports.

Mr Kubiš told Security Council members that Iraqis needed more support from the global coalition against terrorism, to continue the fight against ISIL extremists, where they were turning the tide, after a series of military gains.

But when it came to what he described as the "highly complex" humanitarian relief situation, the battle was being lost, especially for those millions internally displaced.

"Today not only 3.3 million IDPs, but altogether some 10 million Iraqis, almost one third of the population, urgently require some form of humanitarian assistance. Without the necessary support, today's IDPs, will become tomorrow's refugees. Humanitarian needs are now so great, that they far outstrip national capacities. The government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government, simply do not have the resources to keep providing assistance, not because of a lack of will or reluctance to assume responsibility, but because of the grave economic and fiscal situation."

He added that "partisan interests" were also holding back Iraqi politicians' ability to come together in the national interest.

He said the whole stability, security and unity of the country was at stake unless that changed.

Aside from the broad picture, Mr Kubiš also took time to condemn the murder, confirmed on Tuesday, of one of UNAMI's Iraqi staff members, Amer a-Kaissy.

He served as liason officer for the mission in Diyala province.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon, said it was a "shocking murder" and called on Iraqi authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Mr al-Kaissy had "distinguished himself as a courageous and dedicated" staff member, said the Secretary-General, and he conveyed his heartfelt condolences to his family, and friends.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'40"

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