The EU Civil Protection Mechanism is helping European humanitarian aid arrive in Iraq as Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, is in the country to address the worsening humanitarian situation.
Three Member States are already providing assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism: the United Kingdom has sent kitchen sets for the displaced Iraqi, while Sweden and Italy have provided tents and blankets. Several Member States stand ready to deploy humanitarian experts to support the United Nations' immediate relief operations on the ground. The European Commission is coordinating the assistance via the European Emergency Response Cooperation Centre (ERCC).
"Europe stands with the Iraqi people in their hour of need. The activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism ensures that European aid can rapidly reach those areas most affected by the fighting," Commissioner Georgieva said. "On behalf of the victims of this crisis, I thank the UK, Italy and Sweden for the assistance they provide and to those Member States who are ready to send support and expertise," she added.
Commissioner Georgieva is in Iraq for the second time this year, together with Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt. They are consulting with the Iraqi leadership in Baghdad before travelling to the north of the country to assess the humanitarian needs and the response. The Commissioner and the Minister are meeting with humanitarian organisations, representatives of national and regional authorities, as well as community leaders from all faiths.
The European Commission has taken early action and gradually stepped up its response to the Iraqi crisis since Commissioner Georgieva's previous visit in March. An EU humanitarian office is operating in Erbil since May. In June, the Commission provided €5 million in response to increasing needs arising from the mass movement of people, and a further €5 million was allocated last week bringing the overall funding for Iraq to €17 million in 2014.