News / Middle East

    UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

    UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraqi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    August 21, 2014 9:10 PM
    The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
    UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq
    Henry Ridgwell

    The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni rebel group Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.  

    Sunburned and dehydrated from their trek across the desert, thousands of refugees continue to arrive at camps in Iraqi Kurdistan. Alongside ethnic minorities like Yazidis and Christians fleeing the Islamic State militants, there are Sunni and Shia Muslims escaping the violence.

    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    x
    Click to enlarge
    Click to enlarge

    In the space of just a few weeks, an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis have been forced to flee their homes.

    The United Nations began an operation Wednesday to supply basic needs to about half a million of the refugees.

    “This is probably one of the largest supply-driven operations of the United Nations over the last 30 years because of the intensity of displacement and because of the time band of this displacement -- extraordinary high numbers of people, women, children, families displaced in a very short time band which is probably less than one week," said Marzio Babille, the U.N.’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.

    Aid has been flown in from Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. More will arrive by road from Turkey and by sea from Dubai and Iran.

    The Badjet Kandela camp was built as a transit point on the border for Syrians fleeing their civil war. Now it is home to more than 11,000 Iraqis. U.N. Field Officer Bahzad Amin says the camp has doubled in size in the last two weeks.

    “This is a very urgent need for the families," said Amin. "We are trying to manage better for the basic facilities, water delivery, latrines installation, and so on.”

    Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region has had its budget cut by the central government in Baghdad in a dispute over oil. The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) representative in London, Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, says the KRG cannot cope with the refugee influx alone.

    “These are people who have seen murder, rape, genocide. They are traumatized," said Abdul Rahman. "They have nothing, literally nothing except the clothes on their back. They have no toilet facilities. They don’t have access to clean water. We need a serious humanitarian push from the international community, otherwise there will be an outbreak of disease, and things will get even worse now in Kurdistan.”  

    Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who visited a camp near Irbil Wednesday, voiced the hope of the international community that new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, can offer a solution to growing humanitarian crisis.

    Renzi said he hopes Haider al-Abadi is able to rapidly create a cabinet that can meet expectations, not just the expectations of [Iraqi Kurdistan President Masoud] Barzani, of the Kurdish government, but the expectations of the whole Iraqi population.  And, he added, the expectations of the whole world.

    Authorities in northern Iraq say the world must help it deal with twin crises -- a well-armed and brutal terrorist group in the Islamic State, and the humanitarian crisis it has created.

    • About 1.5 million people have been displaced by fighting in Iraq since the Islamic State's rapid advance began in June. Displaced Iraqis settle at this new camp, in Feeshkhabour town, Iraq,  Aug. 19, 2014.
    • Displaced Iraqis receive clothes provided by a charity, in Feeshkhabour town, Iraq, Aug. 19, 2014. 
    • Iraqi lawmaker Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum, center, speaks as lawmakers listen during a press conference in Baghdad, Aug. 19, 2014. 
    • Displaced Iraqis carry clothes provided by a charity at a refugee camp, in Feeshkhabour town, Iraq, Aug. 19, 2014. 
    • Germany's armed forces began sending aid supplies to northern Iraq where thousands of people have fled Islamic State militants, in Alt Duvenstedt, northern Germany, Aug. 15, 2014.
    • A tank belonging to Kurdish peshmerga troops fire at Islamic State militant positions from the frontline in Khazer, Aug. 14, 2014.
    • Women and children from the minority Yazidi sect fleeing the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar walk to a refugee camp in Fishkhabour, Dohuk province, Aug. 14, 2014.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Patrick from: Louisiana
    August 22, 2014 11:00 AM
    May God bless these people and their children. Please Lord protect them and pour forth Your love onto them, Blessed Savior. I pray you dispatch Your Heavenly hosts for their protection and strengthen and bless those that are providing comfort and healing to their bodies, minds and souls. Thank You My King!

    by: Anonymous
    August 21, 2014 9:44 PM
    what about operation in the Syria, Gaza,Palestine,Africa...and other countries were armies of the zion are slaughtering millions.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora