Fine Gael Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes, and Vice Chairman of the EU Delegation for relations with Iraq, today described the humanitarian crisis in Iraq as urgent. He was speaking at an international meeting in Brussels to launch a new appeal for fresh funding for Iraq.
“The people of Iraq need help desperately – it places a hugh responsibility on us all to respond. On the last occasion when an appeal was launched – only half of the funds were obtained by the UN. That cannot happen this time.”
Speaking with the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Mr Salim Abdullah al-Jabouri and UNICEF Director, Anthony Lake, Mr Hayes heard at first-hand about the scale of the humanitarian crisis within Iraq.
“$500 million is needed now to keep the existing humanitarian relief programme. The implication of not responding quickly is twofold. Firstly, the criminal threat from ISIS will continue to grow within the region. Secondly, if the humanitarian crisis is not confronted, the refugee situation we see in the Mediterranean will also get worse on a daily basis.”
“Some facts. 4.4 million people need food assistance now in Iraq. 25% of the entire Iraq population, that’s over 8 million people, are now internally displaced. And of the 8 million people displaced, over 80% of them have no home and are not living in camps. Unimaginable sexual and gender based violence is also an appalling feature of this situation.”
“An entire generation will be lost to ISIS unless this situation is turned around. Keeping children in school must be central to a new plan – just half of displaced children have access to education. It’s an intolerable situation.”
“The appeal launched today must be successful in meeting Iraqi needs. The international community and Europe especially must work closely with the UN in achieving the objective behind the emergency plan,” concluded Mr Hayes.