Austrian Ministerial Council Approves EUR 1.5 Mln for Iraq Humanitarian Aid and Resettlement

Published: July 15, 2016; 15:00 · (Vindobona)

The Austrian Ministerial Council approves 1.5 million euros in funding for humanitarian aid and resettlement in Iraq. The humanitarian aid for the population in need on the ground and measures aimed at promoting resettlement are supposed to contribute towards managing the refugee crisis.

ISIL / Picture: © Wikipedia / Ritsaiph

“The humanitarian crisis in Iraq, which has been exacerbated by the presence of the terrorist organisation ISIL/Da’esh, remains acute. This conflict is one of the key reasons for the massive refugee movements towards Europe. From January to May 2016 alone, a total of 1,629 applications for asylum in Austria were filed by Iraqis. The humanitarian aid and assistance we provide on the ground therefore not only contributes towards supporting the civilian population in need but also makes an important contribution towards managing the refugee crisis”, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz pointed out.

According to the United Nations, ten million Iraqis, i.e. one third of the population, depend on humanitarian aid and there are currently also around 250,000 Syrian refugees in the country. “In view of the continuing dramatic situation in Iraq, Austria will continue to support the humanitarian efforts launched by the international community by providing 1.5 million euros from the Foreign Disaster Relief Fund with a view to ensuring stabilisation of the crisis region as well as resettlement of returning refugees and internally displaced persons”, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz stated.

The sum of 1.5 million euros is made available from funds of the Hilfsfonds für Katastrophenfälle im Ausland (AKF, Foreign Disaster Relief Fund). Of these, 500,000 euros will be provided to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the physical rehabilitation of up to 2,200 mine victims in Iraq; another 500,000 euros are earmarked for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to support more than 150,000 people located in hard-to-reach areas in Iraq, and a further amount of 500,000 euros will go the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq and its Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization, which seeks to create 400 jobs for returnees by promoting the reconstruction of infrastructure. As in the past, funding will again be administered by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).