The EU’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (DG ECHO) department today (12 December) flew in 40 tonnes of aid to Mosul, the Iraq city under attack by ISIS.
The aircraft landed in Erbil in northern Iraq and will be the first of several aircraft sent by the 28-nation bloc this week, it said.
“These airlifts filled with urgently needed help are a tangible expression of European solidarity with the Iraqi people,” EU Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides said.
“The fighting continues to cause enormous suffering among the population in Iraq,” he added.
The first plane carried 268 family tents capable of sheltering up to 1,400 people, and 3,000 blankets as well as sleeping mats, maternity kits and hygiene supplies, the EU said.
Iraqi forces launched the Mosul offensive on 17 October to drive out Islamic State but progress has slowed in recent days.
The UN says some 90,000 people have been displaced by the fighting.
Today’s shipment is intended to be the first of several such operations, jointly funded by the EU and member states through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
Much of Monday’s relief operation – including maternity supplies for new-born babies – was paid for by Finland.
A further plane carrying 100 tents, 10,000 blankets and 1,000 kitchen sets offered by Austria, with the transport co-financed by the EU, will also arrive in Erbil tomorrow.
Another batch of over 570 tents, 7,400 blankets, non-food items (hygiene, school and family kits) and medical equipment were offered by Denmark and Sweden through the same EU Civil Protection Mechanism will arrive on Wednesday (14 December).
In addition, generators have been offered by Germany and shipping arrangements are in progress, a spokesman for DG ECHO said.
This material assistance comes on top of €134 million humanitarian funding the European Commission made available in 2016 to cover the essential needs of the most vulnerable in Iraq, including food, health care, water, sanitation and hygiene as well as protection, shelter and education in emergencies.
Due to the ongoing conflict, lifesaving humanitarian efforts are being scaled up and focus on the most vulnerable populations trapped in active conflict areas such as Mosul city, Telafar and Hawidja, civilians in newly retaken areas still affected by fighting, as well as the increasing number of people forcibly displaced by the conflict, the spokesman added.