World Vision Welcomes Abbott’s Iraq Funding
6 January 2015 at 9:11 am
World Vision Australia has welcomed the Abbott Government’s decision to give $5 million in humanitarian funding to help displaced people in Iraq.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced this week that the money would be used to provide life-saving assistance to people who had been affected by ISIL terrorist activities.
“There are now more than 5.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Iraq. Over 2.2 million of these have been driven from their homes due to ISIL terrorist attacks and are living in temporary shelters,” Abbott said in a statement.
“The $5 million will enable the World Food Program in Iraq to provide food for approximately 350,000 people for the next month. This food assistance is critical as Iraq is now in the middle of winter and local communities have lost their harvest due to the ongoing attacks by ISIL.
“Australia's funding will provide critical support for women and children who continue to be disproportionately impacted by the ongoing violence in Iraq.”
World Vision Australia CEO, Tim Costello, said the extra money, which brings Australia’s humanitarian assistance to Iraq to $22 million, was a welcome move.
“Since October last year, World Vision has worked in partnership with the World Food Programme assisting displaced families with vouchers to obtain food,” Costello said.
But Costello said that World Vision was appealing for further funding commitments from the Australian Government to ensure vulnerable children and families can access food and other basic supplies.
He said World Vision had also been providing emergency health care for vulnerable children and families through mobile clinics, as well as distributing crucial emergency supplies, including mattresses, blankets, hygiene kits, jerry cans, clothing, baby kits, and children’s toys.
Leader of World Vision’s global rapid response assessment team in Erbil, Kathryn Taetzsch, said the burden on displaced Iraqis was “heartbreaking”.
“Everyone we meet just wants to go home, but they can’t,” Ms Taetzsch said. “People are doing their best to take care of each other but they need so much, and they need it quickly,” Taetzsch
Taetzsch said as displaced families faced a harsh winter, agencies like World Vision are in urgent need of additional funding to scale up assistance to refugees and vulnerable members of host communities.