UN asks for $861 million to help Iraq

The United Nations appealed on Sunday for $861 million to help Iraq meet a big funding gap in its 2016 emergency response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the war against Islamic State.

Baghdad, whose revenues have fallen as oil prices have plunged, has said it would manage to finance less than half of its $1.56 billion plan to assist 10 million people in need.

U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Iraq Lise Grande said she expected the crisis in Iraq “to widen and worsen” in coming months. The United Nations expects huge numbers of civilians to flee Mosul when Iraqi forces mount an offensive to retake the northern city from Islamic State, which the authorities have pledged to do this year.

Among the 10 million Iraqis requiring urgent assistance are more than 3.3 million people displaced by the conflict with Islamic State since 2014 and a quarter million people from neighboring Syria who have fled from their country’s nearly five-year-old war, according to the United Nations. Children make up half of the displaced population.

[Reuters]

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