After concluding a three-day visit to Iraq, UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos (pictured) said today that additional support is needed ahead of the long winter months for people who have been displaced by fighting, and for the communities supporting them.
Iraq is facing an escalating emergency with up to 1.8 million Iraqis displaced since January. The crisis has affected over 20 million people across the country.
Speaking about her visit to Khanke camp and other sites in Dohuk in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Amos said people told her they urgently need shelter and protection.
“There is a serious humanitarian crisis in Iraq. Brought on by the violence and brutality meted out by terrorist organizations,” said Ms. Amos.
“I met families who are living camps, schools and unfinished buildings. They have had to flee their homes and are terrified. I was introduced to a girl who asked to meet me. She had one request: to return to school. She insisted that was all she wanted. The humanitarian community will do all it can to help those in need of protection, shelter and basic assistance, including education and healthcare,” she added.
There are half a million displaced Iraqis in the Dohuk area. The number in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq as a whole has increased to over 850,000 displaced since January.
During her visit Valerie Amos held talks with Iraq President Masum and with Dr. Mutlaq, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the High Level Committee for IDPs, and Prime Minister Barzani of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
“The newly formed Government is facing significant challenges in making sure that the displaced get the assistance needed. UN agencies and their partners in Iraq will continue to work to ensure that all Iraqis, regardless of their ethnicity or religious beliefs, are being given the best support,” she added.
“Thanks to the generosity of donors, especially from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we’ve been able to build camps, deliver food and water as well as care for the sick. But further funding will be needed as people are refusing to return home. They don’t feel safe. This will take time and requires a concerted effort by all,” concluded USG Amos.