Displaced Iraqis in the Anbar province of western Iraq need $300 million to survive this winter, UN officials said yesterday.
Kevin Kennedy, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the funds are needed to purchase tents for winter as well as kerosene for heating and winter clothes and boots for tens of thousands of people who fled the fighting with only the clothes on their backs.
“If we’re not able to get sufficient assistance there the people will suffer, no question,” as temperatures start plummeting, Kennedy said.
He added: “We also need more human and financial resources, and I think we will receive the necessary support from international donors in this regard.”
He continued: “Winter is coming, and winter gets down to -16 degrees Centigrade, it’s very cold, plus there’s rain, there’s snow and there’s wind. Our fear is, unless we can provide the shelter and also the items to help people live through the winter, what is currently a very difficult and grave humanitarian challenge will transform itself into a deadly life threatening challenge for many of the IDPs [internally displaced persons].”
Action needs to be taken fast “in the next five to six weeks”, Kennedy stressed.
In response to a question on humanitarian access to areas subject to regulation the Islamic State (ISIS), Kennedy said that the UN has made unremitting efforts to ensure humanitarian access to all those in need, warning of the difficulties caused by the denial of access to humanitarian assistance to the areas. Most in need
He refused to comment on the effects of airstrikes carried out by a US led coalition against ISIS positions in Iraq on the UN’s humanitarian efforts, but added: “We are working to ensure the protection of civilians.”