Brussels, 12 August 2014
Iraq: EU increases humanitarian aid
The European Commission is increasing its humanitarian aid to Iraq by an additional €5 million in response to the growing needs, bringing the overall funding for Iraq up to €17 million in 2014.
The decision is being announced in the expectation of the UN decision today to raise the crisis in Iraq to a Level 3 emergency, the highest ranking for a humanitarian crisis which is already in place for Syria, South-Sudan and Central African Republic.
This additional funding will bring vital assistance to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians trapped by the fighting. In June, the European Commission gave already €5 million in response to increasing needs arising from the mass movement of people affected by the conflict.
"I am appalled by the dire humanitarian situation which is worsening every day, with around 200,000 people fleeing Sinjar area in Northern Iraq in August and now in desperate need of assistance. More than 40 000 members of the Yazidi minority who are still trapped in the Sinjar mountains by the armed groups of ISIL/IS. The European Commission strongly condemns attacks on Iraqi civilians who are being deliberately targeted," said Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.
Commissioner Georgieva visited Baghdad and the Kurdish Region of Iraq in March and announced the opening of an EU humanitarian office in Erbil, where experts are coordinating with the Commission's humanitarian partners on the ground. This early action has enabled the Commission to provide more than one million displaced civilians with humanitarian assistance this year.
The Commission's total humanitarian support to Iraq since 2007 amounts to almost €150 million, including support Syrian refugees in Iraq as well as Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.
The continuous escalation of the armed conflict in Iraq, particularly in the northern governorate of Ninewa, has again triggered the displacement of thousands across the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KR-I). Since the 7th of August, hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled the advances of ISIL/IS. The majority arrived in the Dohuk and Erbil governorates; others are on the way to Sulaymaniyah.
It is estimated that the majority of the 200 000 population of Sinjar district has left or are on the move since last week; for many this is their second displacement. At least 30 000 had reached Dohuk governorate at the weekend, and an undetermined number are dispersed throughout Ninewa and the KR-I.
Yazidi families unable to reach safe ground following ISIL/IS control of Sinjar, took refuge on the Jebel Sinjar mountain chain. Estimates provided during the last week range from 8 000 to 30 000 households, stranded in in this mountain area in dire conditions.
On-going EU Development Aid
The European Commission continues to support as well the country's long-term development. For the period 2014-2020, around €75 million of development support will be made available to Iraq, as announced by EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs. The funding will focus on strengthening the rule of law and respect of human rights, supporting capacity building in primary and secondary education and increasing access to sustainable energy sources.
For more information
Commissioner Georgieva's recent statement on Iraq
The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:
Commissioner Georgieva's website:
Emergency Response Coordination Centre: