The European Union has announced a €194 million (USD 215,5 million) aid package to support Iraq at the International Pledging Conference in Support of Iraq, held today in Washington D.C.
The new support comes as more than 3.4 million people have been displaced in the country due to the ongoing conflict, more than half of whom are children.
European Commissioner for Humanitarian aid and Crisis management, Christos Stylianides, who made the EU pledge in Washington D.C. today said: "The humanitarian situation in Iraq risks getting worse without solid international support. The European Union is at the forefront of humanitarian efforts to get lifesaving supplies to those who need it most, as fast as possible. This new aid package will help us support more Iraqis in need and also Syrian refugees who fled one conflict to find themselves in another. We must be prepared for more humanitarian consequences as a result of the conflict, especially in areas like Anbar and towards Mosul. We can make the difference in Iraq, and to do so we need also to broaden the pool of international aid donors."
European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, added: "The EU is committed to support Iraq's long-term recovery efforts through our development cooperation. We want to help stabilise the country and assist the millions of internally displaced people. We want to improve people's access to basic services and make public expenditure more efficient. The international community, and in particular the countries in the region, needs to play a key role in addressing the crisis and supporting regional stability."
The EU pledge covers both humanitarian assistance and stabilisation and development aid.
As the situation in Iraq deteriorates humanitarian needs continue to grow. Ten million people, nearly a third of the country's population, rely on humanitarian assistance.
Responding to growing needs, the European Union provides substantial financial support to the Iraqi people. Since January 2014, EU humanitarian aid alone accounted for nearly €238 million (USD 264,4 million) and provided life-saving operations throughout the country, especially in hard-to-reach areas and conflict affected locations where needs are the highest. Funding supports life-saving humanitarian assistance, in full respect of humanitarian principles and targets the most vulnerable people on the basis of needs. The funding goes both to internally displaced persons and Syrian refugees in Iraq.
The pledging conference in support of Iraq takes place in Washington D.C. Its aim is to provide urgent financial support in response to this crisis and to garner contributions from the international community to address the challenges faced by the Iraqi people.