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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 12 March 2014

IRAQ: EU INCREASES ITS HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

The European Commission is increasing its humanitarian assistance to Iraq by €3 million in response to an increase in the numbers of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) fleeing a wave of violence in Al Anbar province. This additional funding will bring the total 2014 humanitarian funding for Iraq to €7 million.

Speaking in Baghdad today where she is meeting Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Minister for Displaced and Migration Dindar Nadjman, Kristalina Georgieva, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, said "The Iraqi civilian population is once again a victim of violence and insecurity. This new outbreak of armed violence is causing massive displacement of vulnerable civilians with more than 300 000 people on the move.

"The conditions for those who have fled are tough and for those who remain trapped in the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah delivery of aid is extremely difficult. It is always the most vulnerable who bear the brunt of the violence. This additional funding will relieve the suffering of some by providing basic services and emergency assistance until, through full humanitarian access, we can reach all those in need. "

Since December 2013, Iraq has suffered another wave of violence in Anbar province, where armed groups have fought Government security forces in Falluja and Ramadi. The situation in Anbar Governorate remains volatile and highly complex.

With this additional funding, the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) will continue to support the humanitarian needs of Internally Displaced Iraqis and Iraqis refugees in Jordan and Lebanon through its humanitarian partners the ICRC and UNHCR.

The European Commission provides humanitarian assistance through its partners which include UN agencies, International Organisations such as the Red Cross/Red Crescent family, and international NGO's while fully respecting the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality.

Background

The EU is supporting Iraq in three different humanitarian challenges it is facing: the arrival of more than 224 000 refugees from Syria, people recently displaced in the wake of internal conflicts and Iraqi refugees in neighbouring countries.

Since 2003, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have crossed into neighbouring countries fleeing the violence at home. In early 2014, tens of thousands of vulnerable Iraqis are still living in dire conditions. In 2014 the European Commission had already committed €4 million to assisting both the populations affected by violence inside the country, as well as the Iraqi refugees who had crossed the borders.

In the second quarter of 2013, the UNHCR reported that there were 1.13 million IDPs in Iraq. Many Iraqi IDPs have moved many times and over many years. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the most destitute IDPs are found in illegal settlements, exposed to eviction and security risks, limited access to basic services and livelihoods and lack of documentation.

Access by humanitarians remains a major challenge due to genuine security concerns, internal security restrictions and impediments by armed actors. However, windows of opportunity to provide emergency assistance during the ebbs and flow of combat continue to be available as humanitarian agencies adapt to a new operating environment.

For more information

The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm

& in Arabic : http://echo-arabic.eu

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/index_en.htm

Contacts :

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e-mail


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