Press release

UK steps up support for Iraqis facing freezing winter

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

New support will ensure thousands of families can survive the first winter since being forced to flee their homes.

New support from the UK will ensure thousands of families in Iraq can survive the first winter since being forced to flee their homes by ISIL terrorists, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today.

The £16.5 million in new funding will provide essential help including warm clothing, tents, blankets, heaters and other essential supplies as winter sets in across Iraq and temperatures drop below zero. It brings the total UK commitment to £39.5 million.

Justine Greening called on other countries to follow the UK’s lead and step up with new funding. The UN now estimates that 2.1 million Iraqis have been displaced since January 2014 and are in desperate need of help.

The new UK funding will be delivered through partner agencies already delivering help on the ground inside Iraq including UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). This new funding is expected to:

  • deliver blankets, heating stoves and other essential winter supplies to 14,000 vulnerable displaced families;
  • provide cash and voucher assistance to help 16,000 families buy warm winter clothing such as coats and shoes along with other essentials;
  • ensure 4,500 families are sheltered from winter conditions, including delivery of all-weather tents and repairs to unfinished and derelict buildings sheltering displaced people; and
  • provide emergency health support and increased access to safe water for thousands of vulnerable Iraqis.

Justine Greening said:

ISIL has brutally and indiscriminately murdered and driven out Christians, Yazidis and Muslims alike across Iraq. The UK was among the first to respond to this crisis, providing help where the need was greatest, irrespective of religion or ethnicity.

As winter takes hold, temperatures will plummet and thousands of women, children and other vulnerable Iraqis face bitter conditions with no protection from snowfall, blizzards and flooding. The UK is providing essential, lifesaving winter supplies. Others must now urgently follow suit, before the worst of the winter weather takes hold.

See infographic of UK humanitarian support to the crisis in Iraq.

Notes to editors

  1. The Department for International Development (DFID) is leading the UK’s humanitarian response and getting life-saving aid to people across northern and central Iraq who have fled ISIL terrorists. In addition to the £16.5 million in new funding announced today, the UK is already delivering £23 million of aid, which includes:
    • up to £4 million for humanitarian supplies - this includes aid that was air dropped to help those trapped in the Sinjar Mountains, as well as supporting UN agencies to move food and equipment;
    • £17.5 million of funding to the UN and NGO partners to support over 200,000 people affected by the recent crisis – this funding will allow partners to provide basic life-saving assistance, including food, shelter, water, sanitation and medical care; and
    • a further £1.5 million to strengthen the overall humanitarian response – DFID is supporting logistics and coordination mechanisms to enable Kurdish and UN systems to respond effectively to humanitarian needs in the region, as well as supporting the International Humanitarian Partnership to set up a camp for 6,000 displaced people near Dahuk.
  2. The United Nations has launched a USD $2.2 billion appeal to address the protection and humanitarian needs of 5.2 million people in conflict-affected Iraq in 2014 and 2015.

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