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ERBIL – Iraqi Kurdistan’s Minister of Foreign Relations, Falah Mustafa, called for more international support for the Iraqi Kurds to deal with the 500,000 Mosul IDPs that will flood into Kurdistan, escaping fighting between the Iraqi forces and ISIS militants.
“If we fail to provide for new influx of IDPs from Mosul, Kurdistan Region will face unprecedented consequences,” he said. “KRG [Kurdistan Regional Government] currently hosts 40% of all IDPs in Iraq and 97% of the Syrian refugees in Iraq,” he told the UN General Assembly.
“[The] KRG hosts more than 1.8 million refugees and IDPs now. All estimates are that another 500k will come to our area from Mosul,” he stated.
Therefore the KRG official called for immediate support. “Without immediate aid in advance of the displacement wave, 1000s of desperate people will die for lack of food, water and shelter. Without increased resources, KRG can no longer sustain its current level of support to those already displaced,” he warned.
Also, humanitarian agencies called for more help, and are preparing for the impact of the military campaign to oust ISIS from Mosul –Iraq’s second largest city– that is supposed to be launched in October, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Iraq confirmed in a press statement.
According to the UN, in a worst case scenario, as many as 1.2 to 1.5 million Iraqis are likely to be impacted by the battle for Mosul, and as many as one million may try to flee the city in search of safety and assistance. Most of them will most likely flee to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
“Civilians will be at extreme risk,” said Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq. “The conditions families will be facing are terrifying. They will be at risk from crossfire, bombardments and could be used as human shields. They may be unable to flee or, alternatively forced to run,” said Ms. Grande. “Families may be separated. Many may be killed or wounded.”
“What happens to civilians will depend on how armed forces behave and operate,” Ms. Grande added. “This is why we are today calling on all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law to do everything possible to protect civilians and ensure they have access to assistance.”
Although 10 million Iraqis currently need some form of humanitarian assistance, only 54 per cent of the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan for Iraq has been funded, the UN said. Already, more than half of the projects included in the appeal have been forced to close or could not start due to lack of funding.
Furthermore, humanitarian organizations have requested US$284 million to prepare for the Mosul operation, which is likely to be the single largest, most complex in the world in 2016. To date, half of this amount has been received, according to the UN.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg
Source: ARA News
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