Minister of State Kitt gives details of Humanitarian Funding package for Iraq
Mr. Tom Kitt, T.D., Minister for Overseas Development and Human Rights, today gave details of the way in which the Government's provision of €5m for humanitarian relief in Iraq will be spent. Assistance amounting in total to €2.5m has been allocated to the Red Cross and UNICEF. The balance of €2.5 million will go to leading NGOs (Concern, Goal and Trócaire) as well as to UN and international agencies (including the UN World Food Programme and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance). The key focus of this assistance will be emergency support for health services, water and sanitation, food assistance and support for internally displaced persons.
Announcing this decision today, Minister Kitt said:
“the situation on the ground in Iraq is volatile and dangerous. The top priority has to be to get humanitarian aid in so as to meet as quickly as possible the needs of the most vulnerable Iraqi people. Every effort must be made to create a safe and stable environment which will facilitate this”.
Minister Kitt went on to highlight the UN's substantial record of achievement in the humanitarian field and to observe that:
“the UN agencies are best placed to deliver assistance and must play a central role in the provision of humanitarian aid in this crisis”.
Noting the enormous problems presented by overburdened hospitals, food and water shortages, power cuts and widespread looting, the Minister stressed that everything possible must be done to allow priority to be given to the humanitarian effort. He also called for the setting up of field hospitals as a means of easing the burdens on the main Baghdad hospitals.
Minister Kitt also announced funding of €2.25 million in recovery assistance for Afghanistan and over €2 million in humanitarian funding for Africa's “forgotten emergencies”, including Angola, Burundi, Eritrea, Sierra Leone and Somaliland.