Read more about the UK government’s response to the situation in Iraq.
A Number 10 spokesperson made the following statement after the COBR meeting held today (13 August) and the Prime Minister’s phone call with Iraqi Prime Minister designate, Dr Haider Al-Abadi.
The Prime Minister chaired today’s COBR meeting on the latest situation in Iraq and the UK’s response. The Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary and DFID Minister Desmond Swayne attended along with representatives from the agencies, officials from across Whitehall and overseas missions in Baghdad, Erbil, Ankara, New York and Washington.
Our focus remains on alleviating the dire humanitarian situation in the region and particularly those still trapped on Mount Sinjar. More than 1 million people are displaced across Northern Iraq and the situation has now been declared a level 3 emergency by the United Nations, the highest level of humanitarian crisis. We are seconding a humanitarian expert to the Kurdistan Regional Government based in Erbil to increase their capacity to respond to the crisis.
The Prime Minister has tasked officials to identify what more can be done to strengthen the existing refugee camp in Dahuk so that it can cope with the influx of refugees that are now heading there. We are also providing funding to the International Rescue Committee for their refugee camp in North East Syria, where around 12,000 people have already sought refuge after fleeing the Sinjar region. For those still trapped on the mountain, 2 C130s delivered 23 tonnes of aid last night, providing people there with 13,200 litres of clean water in re-useable water containers and 528 shelter kits to provide shade in temperatures of over 40C. We will continue these deliveries in the coming days while we firm up plans with our partners to get these people to safety, including the role that Britain will play.
Discussion at COBR also focused on the political situation in Iraq and the breadth of international support for Prime Minister designate Dr Haider Al-Abadi. The Prime Minister subsequently called Dr Al-Abadi to express our support for him and his efforts to establish an inclusive government as swiftly as possible. They agreed on the importance of uniting all Iraqi communities against the common threat posed by ISIL terrorists and on the need, in the longer term, for the international community to work together to address the terrorist threat posed by these extremists.