Fallujah aid amid drastic underfunding

By Rudaw yesterday at 11:31

rudaw

 Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—The United Nations has reached into its emergency fund to release $15 million for humanitarian aid for people fleeing fighting in Fallujah, it was announced on Monday.

Stephen O’Brien, the UN’s humanitarian chief, announced the organization was dipping into its Central Emergency Response Fund “to provide urgent life-saving assistance for people affected by the recent fighting and military operations in Fallujah,” reads a statement issued by his office.

“Since last month, more than 85,000 people have been forced to flee the city, displacing families from their homes, communities and livelihoods,” the statement continues. “Those remaining in the city face dire shortages of food, medicine, electricity and safe drinking water.”

The announcement comes one day after the same body, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), reported that the emergency relief fund to provide aid to vulnerable Iraqis has not received two-thirds of its needed funding and projects have had to close.

“To date, only 33 per cent or $285 million has been received,” reported OCHA on Sunday. “With only a third of the appeal funded, projects have already started to close.”

“In the past month, more than 30 front-line health programmes have closed due to lack of funding. Tens of life-saving operations will close in the next weeks if funding is not urgently mobilized.”

The OCHA noted that the funds appealed for do not include what will be needed to deal with new humanitarian needs that will arise, including possible mass displacement from Mosul once an offensive on the city itself is launched.

In releasing the emergency funds today, the UN warned that contingency supplies are nearly depleted and urged donors to act quickly to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.

The UN estimates that 10 million Iraqis are in need of assistance, including 3.3 million internally displaced (IDPs). The majority of the Iraqi displaced have found temporary refuge in the Kurdistan Region, which has seen a 30% increase in its population because of the influx of people fleeing conflict and war in Iraq and Syria.

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