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New UK support for people of Mosul as Iraq winter sets in

International Development Minister Rory Stewart announces new support during Iraq visit

The UK will step up support in Iraq as winter sets in, to provide life-saving aid to hundreds of thousands of people driven out of their homes by Daesh brutality, International Development Minister Rory Stewart announced today.

Speaking during a three-day visit to the country, Mr Stewart set out new UK aid that includes life-saving clean water, hygiene and sanitation to 430,000 displaced Iraqis through UNICEF, as well as support to the UN’s humanitarian response fund in Iraq to meet the most immediate needs of newly displaced and vulnerable Iraqis.

The £10 million allocation to UNICEF will focus on harder to reach areas and vulnerable people and communities across Iraq including camps in Dohuk and Ninewa governorates.

It will include essential aid to many of the 80,000 people who have fled Mosul and the surrounding area as a result of the ongoing military operations to free the city from Daesh as well as delivering supplies inside the city where access allows. The new support will provide:

  • family groups (average six people) with 12 litres of bottled water daily to meet immediate needs;
  • installation of water tanks and stands to provide longer term safe storage of daily water supplies of 15 litres per person per day;
  • emergency latrines and showers at a minimum of one for every 100 people;
  • improved rubbish disposal and water drainage in camps to prevent flooding and the spread of disease;
  • distribution of basic family hygiene kits sufficient to last an average household one month, combined with education activities to improve hygiene awareness.

The £15 million allocation to the International Humanitarian Pooled Fund (IHPF) will enable the UN to respond rapidly and flexibly to the most urgent needs as they emerge, including provision of blankets, heaters, shelter and warm clothes for winter. The UK is already the biggest single donor to the IHPF and this new funding takes its contribution to £54 million.

International Development Minister Rory Stewart said:

As winter sets in, hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis who have already suffered at the hands of Daesh now face freezing temperatures, storms and flooding to add to their misery.

Around 80,000 people have already fled Mosul. With military operations to free the city from Daesh continuing and more than one million people thought to still be inside the city, we must expect many more to flee and to need urgent help.

The UK was among the first to provide people with desperately needed support in response to Daesh’s brutality and we continue to set the pace. That includes the decision in September to scale up our work in northern Iraq to pre-position shelter, medical supplies and other essentials around Mosul, before military operations to free it had even begun.

The international community must follow this lead and continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Iraq in their time of need.

During the Baghdad leg of the visit, the International Development Minister had a number of meetings including with the Iraqi President Fuad Masum, National Security Adviser Falih al-Fayadh, UN humanitarian co-ordinator Lise Grande as well as senior figures from key partner agencies. In Erbil, he met President Masoud Barzani and Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani of the Kurdistan Regional Government, the Governor of Ninewa and other senior ministers.

Discussions throughout the visit included humanitarian needs of those in newly liberated areas in Mosul, next steps and key risks. He also visited Debaga camp to see first-hand the challenges facing the humanitarian response as winter approached and the sort of support that UK funding was helping to provide.

The Minister discussed the Iraqi Government’s plans to ensure reconciliation between communities in Iraq and that once freed from Daesh the citizens of Mosul are provided with security, basic services and opportunities to earn a living and rebuild their lives.

Notes to editors

  1. The allocations announced by Mr Stewart today form part of the £40 million pledged by International Development Secretary Priti Patel at the UN General Assembly in September, to prepare for the humanitarian impact of the push to liberate Mosul.
  2. That pledge took the UK’s total humanitarian commitment to Iraq this year to £90 million. With today’s announcement, that funding has now been fully allocated, including £14 million allocated to the International Organisation for Migration in October, which is already providing medical care and health facilities as well as basic cooking and cleaning equipment for people displaced from Mosul.
  3. The UK has committed £169.5 million since summer 2014 to help those affected by Daesh in Iraq. The UK is the largest contributor to the Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund and one of the earliest and largest contributors to the UN’s flash appeal for Mosul, launched in July 2016.
  4. The UK has led calls for the international community to step up with additional funding in Iraq and to ensure that the humanitarian response is coherent and joined up. The International Development Secretary highlighted the possible impact of military operations and urged the international community to follow Britain’s lead in preparing for the humanitarian response, including during meetings at the UN General Assembly.