UN’s humanitarian chief in Iraq, Marta Ruedas, warned on Tuesday, January 14, that the deliveries of aid to the Iraqi people are in danger of being halted within weeks due to the government’s failure to provide proper documentation to humanitarian organisations.
In a statement, UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) chief Ms. Ruedas said that “our operations are at risk. Without predictable, continual access authorisation, humanitarian aid is in danger of rotting in warehouses, putting lives in jeopardy and wasting badly-needed donor funds”.
Previously, humanitarian organisations based in Iraq, including the UN and its NGO partners, were granted monthly letters, allowing them to pass through checkpoints unhindered, but as of January 2020, almost all of these letters had expired and, with no alternative measures in place, the flow of aid deliveries in Iraq had slowed considerably.
A survey of NGO partners showed that more than 2,460 humanitarian missions have been cancelled or prevented from reaching their destinations. Some 2.4 million people are believed to be affected as a result.
More than 100 NGOs were active in Iraq in 2019, working under a coordinated, US$700 million plan to assist some 1.75 million internally displaced persons, those returning home, and host communities. It is estimated that around US$520 million is needed to continue vital humanitarian work through this year.
UNAMI says that, unless partners are allowed to immediately resume full, unimpeded movement of their personnel and supplies, humanitarian operations in Iraq “may come to a complete halt within a matter of weeks”, leading to the possibility of hundreds of thousands of people in conflict-affected areas going without food, medicine and materials to get them through the coldest months of the year.
“We request that the Government of Iraq provide clarity on the procedures for granting access authorisations for humanitarian organisations”, said Ms. Ruedas, “and allow us to resume delivering aid effectively and efficiently for the people of Iraq.” (Source: UN News)