On December 1, the United States began providing urgently needed winter relief supplies in Erbil to help people affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis caused by Da’esh attacks, launching a larger U.S. effort to help internally displaced people and refugees in need across the country as the cold weather sets in. This first distribution will be followed by many more in the coming weeks across Iraq as the United States, in close coordination with international and local humanitarian partners, provides winter assistance to people in need.
With winter fast approaching, the United States is beginning to provide much-needed relief items such as winter clothing and coats for more than 500,000 children, warm blankets, hygiene kits, water storage containers, kerosene heaters and solar lights to help vulnerable internally displaced people and refugees cope with the cold winter weather. Yesterday’s distribution in Erbil provided plastic sheeting to help displaced Iraqis winter-proof and seal their shelters to protect from the cold rain and snow.
In addition to distributing critical relief supplies, the United States is helping displaced persons and Syrian refugees prepare for winter by upgrading and repairing unfinished buildings that are housing displaced people to provide adequate protection from winter weather elements. The United States is also supporting cash transfers to displaced families for the purchase of essential household items, including winter supplies.
Iraq has one of the fastest growing displacement crises in the world, with more than 3.2 million people forced from their homes since January 2014. Ongoing violence, excessive seasonal flooding, and a cholera outbreak continue to complicate an already dire humanitarian situation that has left nearly 10 million people in need of humanitarian aid.
The United States has provided more than $603 million in life-saving assistance for the Iraqi people since the start of the crisis, and remains committed to supporting the humanitarian response.