KHAZAIR, IRAQ: The U.S has begun air drops over Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq to help an estimated 50,000 members of the Yezidi religious minority who are threatened with genocide by the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.
On August 07 an Air Mobility Command C-17 and two C-130 aircraft, escorted by two Marine Corps F-18s, dropped 5,300 gallons of water and 8,000 ready meals on the mountain. A second relief sortie was carried out a day later.
The UK government has announced it will also provide air logistics support to help the trapped minority.
U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said he was “deeply appalled” by reports of attacks by Islamic State in Kirkuk and Qaraqosh, and earlier attacks in Tal Afar and Sinjar district affecting Christians, Turkomen, and Yezidis.
Meanwhile the UN World Food Programme (WFP) says it is planning to establish new transport corridors to bring food into Iraq, including a southern corridor through Kuwait. The agency says it is also trying to establish hubs in Basrah and Baghdad to facilitate food and transport arrangements.
UNHCR, WFP and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF] are helping an estimated 200,000 people who have fled Sinjar after it was overrun by Islamic State gunmen and are heading north to Dahuk Governorate in the Kurdistan region.
Prior to the latest wave of displacement, the WFP has been supporting about 240,000 people who had fled the fighting in al-Anbar Governorate and more than 180,000 refugees from the conflict in Syria, who have also been sheltering in Iraq.
The U.N. says the Khazair checkpoint (right) between Iraq and semi-autonomous Kurdistan has seen hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people cross into the region to get away from Islamic State terrorists.