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Thursday, 21 August 2014

More UK aid flights into Erbil deliver food and essential kit for aid workers

Two more UK aid flights carrying emergency food and tents for displaced Iraqi families and essential kit to ensure aid workers can distribute supplies quickly and safely have now departed Dubai for northern Iraq, International Development Secretary Justine Greening said this morning.

This brings to six the total number of Department for International Development-chartered cargo flights into the Iraqi city of Erbil delivering aid supplies for people cut off from their homes and living in makeshift camps across the Dahuk region of northern Iraq. One of last night’s flights was carrying 515 tents that will provide shelter for 2,575 people. The other was carrying the following load on behalf of the World Food Programme (WFP):
  • 17 tonnes of “Plumpy’Doz”, a high-nutrition supplementary food;
  • Three WFP Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles, for the safe transportation of WFP humanitarian workers; and
  • Body armour for WFP humanitarian workers.
Justine Greening said: "Britain has been airlifting emergency supplies to thousands of Iraqi families who have lost everything and are in desperate need of basics such as food and shelter. These latest UK aid flights into Erbil will provide enough food to support 12,100 children for a month. They are also delivering vital kit in the form of body armour and vehicles to enable humanitarian workers to do their life-saving work quickly and safely. We can be proud of the UK’s swift action and ongoing support in response to the humanitarian crisis in northern Iraq."

Today’s flights follow four other UK aid flights to Erbil:

Saturday 16 August
Two flights landed in Erbil carrying almost 8,000 kitchen sets, meaning almost 40,000 people who have to queue at makeshift canteens will be able to cook for themselves and feed their families.

Tuesday 19 August
Two more flights landed in Erbil on Tuesday, one carrying 45 tonnes of highly nutritious peanut-based food from the World Food Programme to assist the nutritional needs of 32,000 children for a month, and another carrying 515 family-sized tents to provide shelter now and through the winter months for 2,575 people.

There are now approximately half a million displaced people in the Dahuk area, which represents almost half of the total original population. Many of the displaced Iraqis arriving in the region have travelled for days without food and water in high temperatures and face the prospect of living in makeshift refugee camps as winter approaches.

UK aid flights depart from Dubai, the location of DFID’s aid stockpile in the region, and the East Midlands, which is close to its main UK-based aid warehouse in Kemble, Gloucestershire. Both Dubai and Kemble are key hubs that store life-saving support and allow the UK to deploy aid at very short notice. 

The UK has so far committed £13 million in new assistance in response to the crisis in Iraq. In addition to DFID’s six aid flights into Erbil, the Royal Air Force (RAF) made seven successful air drops of UK aid over Mount Sinjar including water containers, solar lamps and shelter kits.