UNICEF Steps Up its Humanitarian Response in Northern Iraq

August 13, 2014

As the humanitarian crisis continues to unfold in Iraq, UNICEF and other humanitarian actors are stepping up efforts

NEW YORK (August 12, 2014) – As the humanitarian crisis continues to unfold in Iraq, UNICEF and other humanitarian actors are stepping up efforts to meet the urgent needs of up to 30,000 members of the Yazidi ethnic minority group who are being extracted from Sinjar Mountain in the north, in addition to helping meet the needs of 12,000 displaced Christians who are now sheltering in the Kurdish capital, Erbil.

“UNICEF remains extremely concerned about the survival and fate of thousands of children trapped in the Sinjar Mountains, as well as those who have reached a safe haven,” said Dr. Marzio Babille, UNICEF Iraq Representative. “We are working around the clock to deliver aid to the increasing number of people who have been brought off the mountains, but who now suffer from acute dehydration, exposure, malnourishment and shock.”

In response, UNICEF has moved 30 truckloads of relief supplies closer to areas where displaced people are arriving, in addition to conducting the distribution of lifesaving aid throughout Dohuk Governorate.

Supplies delivered over the last 24 hours have included 1,100 cartons of emergency food rations, 500 cartons of high-protein food supplements, 40 boxes of oral rehydration solution, and 15 climatized 72-square meter wide tents. In all, the response plan over the next 48 hours will total close to 60 tonnes of emergency aid.

Additionally, UNICEF, in close collaboration with the Kurdistan Regional Government, is planning a mass cash transfer program of $5 million that will immediately provide thousands of displaced families with the means to purchase their basic needs on the local market.

Since August 2nd, UNICEF and its implementing partners – ACTED, DRC, Mercy Corps, NRC and Save the Children – have distributed humanitarian aid to 73,452 children, women and their families in 20 locations throughout Dohuk Governorate alone. These critical deliveries have included 552,216 bottles of water, 44,282 packs of emergency food rations, 10,016 buckets, 10,000 bars of soap, 9,378 hygiene kits, 5,500 jerry cans, 1,500 blankets, and 1,000 hygiene baby kits.

In Erbil, where nearly 12,000 people have sought refuge from violence, UNICEF has distributed 78,000 bottles of water and installed three water storage tanks. UNICEF staff are also monitoring the situation of children separated from their families and for any grave violations of child rights. In close collaboration with the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop, UNICEF is helping establish a reception and support center for displaced families.

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org

For additional information, please contact:

Andrea Sioris, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9136, asioris@unicefusa.org