The Government today announced funding of €500,000 in emergency response to the devastating conflict and unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq, with a focus on minority groups and vulnerable women and children.
The Government will provide €250,000 to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and a further €250,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support their emergency response activities in Northern Iraq, where thousands have fled the advances of ISIS. These include up to 30,000 minority Yazidi civilians displaced in the vicinity of Mount Sinjar and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons.
The contribution to UNICEF will meet immediate life-saving needs of children and women at risk of violence, displacement, dehydration, and starvation. The funding provided to the ICRC will support provision of food and essential household items, as well as by improving the availability of water and health care.
Speaking today Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, said:
“The plight of the most vulnerable – particularly, children, women and elderly people – is increasingly desperate and Ireland is doing all it can to provide urgent life-saving assistance. Children are the most at risk and worst affected by violence and displacement.
“Ireland condemns in the strongest possible way deliberate attacks on Iraqi civilians and calls on all parties to the conflict to ensure safe passage of displaced populations and delivery of humanitarian assistance.”
Minister Flanagan also stated:
“My colleague, Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, TD, and I have been discussing the ways in which Ireland can offer refuge to a number of families who have seen their lives devastated by this appalling violence and oppression.
“We are both anxious that Ireland plays its part and Minister Fitzgerald has agreed that Ireland will provide refuge to a number of families fleeing the violence being perpetrated by ISIS in Northern Iraq.
“I remain extremely concerned about the overall plight of Christian and other minority communities in Iraq and the threat they face from extremists groups such as ISIS. Ireland will continue to press for effective action on this issue in all relevant international fora, including the EU and UN.”
Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, today reiterated his grave concern for the civilian and minority populations in Northern Iraq:
“It is clear that an appalling humanitarian crisis is looming in the region which has already suffered the impact of three years of war in Syria. Ireland stands ready to provide further humanitarian assistance within our means.
“In addition to the €655,000 that Ireland has already provided in response to the Iraq crisis this year, this further funding will bring vital life saving assistance to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians trapped by the fighting.
“The humanitarian situation is worsening every day in Northern Iraq. There are approximately 200,000 people who are now in desperate need of assistance. I am particularly concerned about the plight of the Yazidi minority still trapped in the Sinjar mountains by the armed groups of ISIS.”
Notes to the editor:
• Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas development programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
• The funding announced today brings to €1,155,000 Ireland’s contribution to Iraq in 2014.
• With today’s announcement, Ireland’s total contribution to humanitarian programmes in Iraq for the period 2006-2014 now stands at just over €18.5 million.
• In June Ireland dispatched emergency stocks worth €220,000 including blankets, kitchen sets, jerry cans, and shelter supplies to those displaced by recent violence.
• Ireland also provided an allocation of €75,000 to Christian Aid Ireland in June 2014, which was used to procure food and essential non food items for internally displaced persons affected by the violence.
• Ireland has provided an additional €160,000 in support of a Christian Aid Ireland programme in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdish Iraq which focuses on responding to Gender Based Violence as a result of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
• It is estimated that between 8,000 and 30,000 Yazidi families are stranded in the Sinjar mountain area in dire conditions.
• The UN has raised the crisis in Northern Iraq to a Level 3 emergency, the highest ranking for a humanitarian crisis.