ADANA, TURKEY: According to Valerie Amos, U.N. under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, 20 million people across Iraq have been affected since the first wave of displacement took place in January this year. As winter approaches, she says this vast number requires shelter, basic humanitarian assistance and protection in over 1,500 sites nationwide.
In response to an U.N. appeal, US$712 million has been donated so far – including US$500 million from Saudi Arabia.
The U.N. says more than 45 charter flights in support of various agencies, including the World Food Programme (WFP), have already delivered 6,700 tonnes of tents, mattresses, hygiene and household kits, water bottles and water disaster response kits to Erbil, in Iraq's Kurdistan region.
UNHCR began another airlift in late September in support of refugees fleeing from ISIS advances in northern Syria as more than 150,000 Syrians, 80 percent women and children, crossed the border into Turkey in less than a week.
A Royal Jordanian A310 freighter (right) began the first of eight flights on September 25 carrying relief supplies to the southern Turkish city of Adana. Further aid is on its way by truck from Copenhagen and via sea from Dubai to Mersin, Turkey, and is expected to arrive on October 11.
"This sudden and massive influx of traumatized people into Turkey comes at a time when this country is already generously hosting well over a million Syrians. It is absolutely critical that the international community supports Turkey to respond to spiraling needs of so many refugees now as they will soon be facing winter," said U.N. high commissioner for refugees António Guterres.
Despite continued threats from ISIS terrorists, UNICEF has delivered aid to 439,000 internally displaced Iraqis while the World Heath Organisation has provided medicines and medical supplies for almost 950,000 in the last few months. In addition the UNHCR refugee agency has helped some 300,000 with tents, mattresses and other emergency items while the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has supported a further 149,000 Iraqis with the distribution of 25,000 family kits that include blankets, mattresses, storage bins, kitchen cookware, cutlery, cooking stove, laundry and toiletry items.
A new U.N. report says the four years of conflict in Syria has created a protracted refugee emergency in the Middle East that has overflowed into Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. Over 2.9 million Syrians are now registered as refugees. As the situation inside the country continues to deteriorate, the U.N. says its humanitarian partners expect the number to be 3.5 million by the end of this year.
Official U.N. estimates say the number of Syrians in need has risen from 9.3 million in December last year to 10.8 million now - with 6.5 million men, women and children displaced inside the country and an additional 2.9 million fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt.