UN declares highest level humanitarian emergency for Iraq

Updated: 2014-08-15 07:28


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UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations has declared its highest level emergency for the crisis in Iraq as humanitarian needs for millions of displaced civilians continue to grow, a UN spokesperson said here on Thursday.

The "Level 3 Emergency" designation is the highest global humanitarian priority for the UN and partner agencies, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said here at the daily briefing.

The Secretary-General's Special Representative, Nickolay Mladenov, said that the declaration will "facilitate mobilization of additional resources in goods, funds and assets to ensure a more effective response to the humanitarian needs of populations affected by forced displacements," Dujarric said.

The UN estimates that over 1.2 million Iraqis have been internally displaced following increased violence by the armed group, Islamic State (IS). Since mid-June, UN agencies have scaled up assistance and reached tens of thousands of people with food, water, shelter, health care and medical supplies.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is working with other humanitarian partners to step up efforts to meet the growing needs of people arriving from Sinjar Mountain, Dujarric said, noting that tens of thousands of people are reportedly still trapped on the mountain, many with deteriorating health conditions.

Over 400,000 people mainly from Iraqi minority groups have sought refuge in Dohuk governorate of the Kurdistan region escaping violence unleashed by militant groups, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The Agency has also begun transporting newly arriving Iraqi refugees from the border area to the Newroz camp near Al Qamishli, where it is providing tents, blankets, hygiene and other essential supplies, the spokesperson said.