x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Dh2m of aid leaves Dubai for Iraqi Kurdistan

The relief is part of the UN High Commission for Refugees’ emergency response to the crisis in northern Iraq.

Blankets are loaded for shipping from the UNHCR stockpiles at International Humanitarian City in Dubai to Iraqi Kurdistan. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Blankets are loaded for shipping from the UNHCR stockpiles at International Humanitarian City in Dubai to Iraqi Kurdistan. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

More than US$500,000 of humanitarian aid will leave Dubai on Saturday to help people affected by the turmoil in Iraq, the UN refugee agency says.

The relief is part of the UN High Commission for Refugees’ emergency response to the crisis in northern Iraq.

Fighting has displaced about 600,000 people there, said Mohammed Abu Asaker, communications officer at the UNHCR’s office in Abu Dhabi.

The aid will be distributed in the Newroz refugee camp in Syria where thousands of Iraqis have arrived recently.

The UNHCR is also setting up refugee shelters at 12 sites in Iraqi Kurdistan, where tens of thousands of people have been fleeing from fighting and persecution.

“They have been walking for hours and days before reaching safe areas,” said Mr Abu Asaker. “They arrive hungry and thirsty with nothing more but the clothes on their body.

“We hope we will provide the needed assistance on time.”

Sixteen containers of humanitarian aid will leave Dubai, loaded with goods including 10,000 kitchen sets, 40,000 tonnes of blankets and 25,000 jerry cans.

That will supplement supplies already sent by the UNHCR from warehouses in Jordan and Turkey.

The shipment, worth $531,300 (Dh1.9 million), is set to leave Jebel Ali Port for Bandar Abbas in Iran by sea, then by road to Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, where it is expected to arrive in two weeks.

The UNHCR stockpile in Dubai is the largest of 70 around the world, said Mr Abu Asaker.

Last year, humanitarian operations to 36 countries were organised from Dubai.

The UAE “is an example of humanitarian assistance to ease the pain of refugees”, said Mr Abu Asaker.

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