UN declares emergency for Iraq humanitarian crisis
Baghdad, August 15, 2014
The United Nations has called its highest level of emergency for the humanitarian crisis in Iraq.
The move comes after hundreds of thousands have been driven from their homes and tens of thousands have been trapped in a desert mountain by the advance of Islamic militants across the north of the country, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The declaration of a 'Level 3 Emergency' will trigger additional goods, funds and assets to respond to the needs of those displaced, said UN special representative Nickolay Mladenov, who pointed to the 'scale and complexity of the current humanitarian catastrophe'.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama declared yesterday that America had broken the jihadist siege of Mount Sinjar, but said air strikes against the militants will go on.
He said the situation on the mountain had greatly improved.
Obama paid tribute to US forces for the operation that helped rescue tens of thousands of displaced people.
“We helped save many innocent lives. Because of these efforts, we do not expect (there) to be an additional operation to evacuate people off the mountain and it's unlikely we're going to need to continue humanitarian air drops on the mountain,” he said.
Since June, Iraq has been facing an onslaught by the Islamic State group and allied militants across much of the country's north and west.
In recent weeks, the crisis has worsened as the militant fighters swept over new towns in the north, displacing members of the minority Christian and Yazidi communities, and threatening the neighbouring Iraqi Kurdish autonomy zone.
Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled the advance to take refuge in the remote desert Sinjar mountain range, becoming trapped for days without food or water.
The US and Iraqi military dropped food and water supplies into the mountains, and in recent days Kurds from neighbouring Syria battled to open a corridor to the mountain, allowing some 45,000 to escape.
The UN estimates that 1.2 million Iraqis have been internally displaced in the last few months. - TradeArabia News Service