European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Children in a refugee camp. © Samantha Robison

What are the needs?

After decades of conflict, vulnerable Iraqis struggle to survive a complex emergency, which has entered into its third year. Fighting and sectarian violence have resulted in the displacement of millions. The crisis in Iraq is one of the most rapidly unfolding humanitarian crises worldwide, declared by the UN a ‘Level 3 Emergency’ in August 2014.

Disregard of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law by all parties to the conflict dramatically reduces civilians’ protection space. Access to safety for populations seeking to flee active conflict is increasingly difficult, as well as access of international humanitarian organisations to reach people most in need.

Vulnerable groups are increasingly living in hardship, with little access to life-saving goods and basic services. Many Iraqis have crossed into neighbouring countries and are living in dire conditions both within and outside Iraq.

Iraq is facing not only the consequences of its internal conflict, but also those created by the ongoing conflict in neighbouring Syria, and is hosting hundreds of thousands of registered Syrian refugees.

How are we helping?

The EU is a leading donor in the Iraq humanitarian response, supporting all civilians in need, upholding the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. The EU provides protection and relief to both Iraq’s displaced people and Syrian refugees inside and outside camps in Iraq, as well as other vulnerable populations affected by the conflict.

Funding ensures food assistance, basic health care, water and sanitation, protection, shelter and the distribution of essential household items. The European Commission is supporting a principled and integrated humanitarian response, on the basis of needs only.

Including the recent announcement at the 2017 United Nations General Assembly of an additional €10 million, the European Commission has committed a total of €82.5 million in humanitarian assistance to Iraq in 2017. Since 2015, €350 million have been dedicated by the EU to provide emergency assistance in response to the humanitarian consequences of the current conflict in Iraq.

The Commission also allocates aid to Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Lebanon to cover emergency support to the most vulnerable.

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