UNHCR Airlifts urgently needed winter supplies to Northern Iraq

Press Releases, 2 December 2013

ERBIL, Iraq December 2 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency has commenced an emergency airlift of urgently needed winter supplies to reinforce its stockpile in northern Iraq with relief items for up to 50,000 vulnerable Syrians.

The UNHCR-chartered Etihad Boeing 777 aircraft landed at Erbil airport this afternoon (Monday) carrying 90 metric tons of various core relief items to help 4,400 families over the winter months including plastic tarpaulins, thermal blankets, sleeping mats, jerry cans and kitchen sets.

"While UNHCR has adequate stocks inside Iraq to meet the immediate needs, we want to ensure that sufficient items are on-hand to address any developments," said UNHCR's Amman-based Director for the Middle East and North Africa Amin Awad. "The relief items we are airlifting will reinforce the UNHCR-led winterization regional response as temperatures are starting to drop across higher altitude areas in the Syria region."

Another Boeing 777 flight chartered by UNHCR is expected to land in Erbil later Monday evening with a similar cargo of relief items for some 4,400 families. A commercial cargo flight carrying items for some 1,200 families will land on Tuesday to round up UNHCR's airlift to ensure that relief aid for some 50,000 people in the form of 10,000 family kits are on-hand to help Syrians cope with the rigours of winter.

By commencing the airlift, UNHCR is adding Erbil as one of its regional emergency stockpiles for core relief items. The agency already maintains a global stockpile in Amman, Jordan as well as its global central emergency stockpile in Dubai, UAE.

Media contacts:

  • Jessica Hyba, UNHCR, Erbil, Iraq, mob. +964 780 109 9776
  • Peter Kessler, UNHCR, Amman, Jordan, +962 79 631 7901
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Tens of thousands of people have fled to Erbil and Duhok governorates in Iraq's Kurdistan region over the past week, sheltering in schools, mosques, churches and temporary camps following a surge of violence in parts of central and northern Iraq. UNHCR and its partners have been working to meet the urgent shelter needs. The refugee agency has delivered close to 1,000 tents to a transit camp being built by the authorities and NGOs at Garmawa, near Duhok.

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