1 April 2015 – A UN convoy carrying life-saving assistance for thousands of people has arrived today in the town of al-Baghdadi in Anbar Governorate, where the conflict has left thousands of residents with very limited access to food, clean water and medicine.  UN agencies have been struggling to reach the area because of the siege south of the town. 

Three UN agencies took part in the convoy: World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). 

“We are very worried about the people in Baghdadi—they’ve been under siege and without assistance.  Reaching them is one of our highest priorities”, Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, said. 

“The humanitarian community in Iraq is doing everything it can to bring relief to the children, women and families of al-Baghdadi and Anbar Governorate”, said Philippe Heffinck, Unicef’s representative in Iraq.  “This critical delivery of essential supplies will help meet the immediate life-saving needs of families affected by continuing violence”.

“With no food, water and safety, these families have gone for months without basic survival needs and are very vulnerable”, said Jane Pearce, Representative and Country Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Iraq.  “WFP has coordinated its efforts to bring to the people of al-Baghdadi this crucial food assistance that is essential for their survival”.

This initial aid delivery includes essential water, food rations, sanitation and hygiene items sufficient to cover the needs of 21,000 people for one week. 

More than 2.6 million Iraqis have been displaced by ongoing violence since January 2014, including close to 400,000 people in Anbar Governorate.  The current UN humanitarian operation in Iraq aims to reach more than 2 million people but is severely under-funded.  Unless support is forthcoming, up to 60 percent of the operation may have to be curtailed or shut-down in coming weeks. 

“Securing funding to help the victims of armed violence in Iraq should be seen as one of the international community’s highest priorities.  We hope that the friends of Iraq will step forward to help.  It’s urgently needed”, Grande said.

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