Lack of funds threat­ens food aid for Iraqis

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

A ma­jor short­age of aid fund­ing for Iraq threat­ens food as­sis­tance re­lied on by more than two mil­lion peo­ple, the U.N.’s hu­man­i­tar­ian co­or­di­na­tor for the coun­try said on Sun­day.

The Is­lamic State ji­hadist group over­ran around a third of Iraq last year, spark­ing a con­flict that has dis­placed mil­lions of peo­ple, caus­ing a ma­jor hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis.

The “food pipeline, which is keep­ing more than 2 mil­lion peo­ple alive, breaks ... in Oc­to­ber. We’ve got about eight weeks be­fore it breaks,” Lise Grande told AFP in Bagh­dad.

“The food pipeline right now pro­vides sup­ple­men­tal sup­port to fam­i­lies that are food in­se­cure. So what we would ex­pect to see when that pipeline breaks is that food in­se­cu­rity ... is go­ing to in­crease, there’s no ques­tion about this, dra­mat­i­cally,” Grande said.

On June 4, the United Na­tions launched an ap­peal for half a bil­lion dol­lars to tackle the spi­ral­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis in Iraq, where con­flict has dis­placed more than three mil­lion peo­ple since the start of 2014.

“Of the US$500 mil­lion that we asked for, more than US$100 mil­lion has been re­ceived to date,” and other coun­tries have said that they want to help, said Grande.

“We’re con­fi­dent that tens of mil­lions more dol­lars will be com­ing, but by our own cal­cu­la­tion, we’re still only half­way there,” she said.

And US$500 mil­lion is the ab­so­lute bare min­i­mum re­quired: “We pre­sented the most pared to the bone hu­man­i­tar­ian ap­peal that had ever been launched in this re­gion,” Grande said.

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