EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides announced during his third visit to Bagdad that the EU would provide extra €104 million for humanitarian assistance. The money will be especially designated for projects that can promptly help those most affected by the intensifying conflict in Iraq.
Having met the Iraqi Prime Minister, Commissioner Stylianides commented that “I’ve always said Iraq can become another Syria, another major humanitarian emergency of global scale.” Mr. Stylianides then stressed that “we have to act and the EU is doing just that by leading the international humanitarian efforts. We did this recently in Fallujah and we will continue our solidarity with the Iraqi people. What’s crucial is that civilians in need can have access to these lifesaving supplies and are protected, wherever they are with full respect of International Humanitarian law.”
The new funding is part of a broader package worth almost €200 million announced by the EU at the International Pledging Conference in Support of Iraq held last week in Washington D.C. The new funding will almost exclusively focus on the provision of food, shelter, health care, potable water and sanitation and the projects will be implemented by UN agencies, NGOs and international organizations. The EU is already providing aid in the country, for example in Anbar governorate, where more than 85,000 people who fled the besieged city of Fallujah in June are currently living in dire conditions.
Since January 2014, more than 3.4 million people have been internally displaced in Iraq and almost a third of the country’s population currently relies on humanitarian assistance. The EU has so far provided almost €238 million, enabling life-saving operations throughout the country with a special focus on hard-to-reach areas and the conflict zones.