In Iraq, one of the most dire humanitarian nightmares has unfolded on Mount Sinjar, where tens of thousands of Yazidis have been trapped for over a week, after fleeing when ISIS fighters stormed the town of Sinjar.
On Sunday night, the U.S. military made a fourth airdrop of food and water, according to U.S. Central Command. In total, U.S. military aircraft have delivered more than 74,000 meals and more than 15,000 gallons of fresh drinking water, Centcom said.
Britain and France have said they will join the United States in the airdrops. A British C-130 cargo plane delivered aid to Iraq on Sunday, a Ministry of Defense spokesman said.
Iraqi security forces have been able to airlift about 100 to 150 people a day off Sinjar Mountain, said Marzio Babille of UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s agency. The Iraqi air force and fighters with the Kurdish peshmerga carried out a dramatic rescue mission Monday at Mount Sinjar, taking supplies to desperate Yazidis and bringing some on board the helicopter to make it safely out.
Teams hurled out bags and boxes of food, water, milk and diapers from as high as 50 feet before approaching the ground. “We landed on several short occasions, and that’s where — amid this explosion of dust and chaos — these desperate civilians came racing towards the helicopter, throwing their children on board the aircraft. The crew was just trying to pull up as many people as possible.”
It’s already too late to save dozens of children who’ve died of thirst. But for the 20 or so people rescued Monday, the relief was palpable. The crowd on board the helicopter burst into tears as it took off.