Brussels, 18 August 2014
Humanitarian aid reaches Iraq via EU Civil Protection Mechanism
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism is helping European humanitarian aid arrive in Iraq as Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response is in the country to address the worsening humanitarian situation.
Three Member States are already providing assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism following a request by the Iraqi authorities to the European Commission's President Jose Manuel Barroso. The United Kingdom has sent kitchen sets for the displaced Iraqis, while Sweden and Italy have provided tents, blankets and other in-kind assistance. Several Member States stand ready to deploy humanitarian experts to support the United Nations' immediate relief operations on the ground. The European Commission is coordinating the assistance via the European Emergency Response Cooperation Centre.
"Europe stands with the Iraqi people in their hour of need. The activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism ensures that European aid can rapidly reach those areas most affected by the fighting," Commissioner Georgieva said. "On behalf of the victims of this crisis, I thank the UK, Italy and Sweden for the assistance they provide and to those Member States who are ready to send support and expertise," she added.
Commissioner Georgieva is in Iraq for the second time this year, together with Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt. They are consulting with the Iraqi leadership in Baghdad before travelling to the north of the country to assess the humanitarian needs and the response. The Commissioner and the Minister are meeting with humanitarian organizations, representatives of national and regional authorities, as well as community leaders from all faiths.
The European Commission has taken early action in the Iraqi crisis and gradually stepped up its response since Commissioner Georgieva's previous visit to the country in March. An EU humanitarian office is operating in Erbil since May. In June, the Commission provided €5 million in response to increasing needs arising from the mass movement of people, and a further €5 million was allocated last week bringing the overall funding for Iraq to €17 million in 2014.
The escalation of the armed conflict in Iraq, particularly in the northern governorate of Ninewa, has triggered the displacement of thousands across the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KR-I). Since early August, hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled the advances of ISIL/IS. The UN estimates that more than 1.2 million people are internally displaced in Iraq since the beginning of 2014, adding to the over 1.1 million people already displaced in previous years.
The United Nations last week declared the crisis in Iraq a 'Level Three' emergency, the highest ranking for a humanitarian crisis which is already in place for Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
The European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCPM) facilitates co-operation in disaster response, preparedness, and prevention among 31 European states (EU-28 plus the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland and Norway). The European Commission manages the Mechanism through the Emergency Response Coordination Centre. Operating 24/7, the ERCC monitors risks and emergencies around the world and serves as an information and coordination hub during emergencies. Through the Civil Protection Mechanism, the Commission also provides financial support to transport operations.
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: