As fighting continues in Mosul, Hawija and Telafar, the EU’s air lifts “are a tangible expression of European solidarity with the Iraqi people,” said EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

“The European Union is at the forefront of the humanitarian response to the crisis in Iraq, helping with funding and direct material assistance,” he added.

According to the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration, the number of displaced people from Mosul is more than 85,000 since the start of offensive by Iraqi forces to liberate the city from Islamic State (IS) militants.

With the EU assistance, 268 family tents will be made available to house up to 1,400 people. Some 3,000 blankets, as well as tarpaulins, sleeping pads, maternity kits for newborn babies and hygiene supplies that were offered by Finland through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, are also part of this first package.

The humanitarian aid will not stop here. A second plane carrying 100 tents, 10,000 blankets and 1,000 kitchen sets offered by Austria, with the transport co-financed by the EU, are scheduled to arrive in Erbil on December 13.

A third package containing 570 tents, 7,400 blankets, non-food items (hygiene, school and family kits) and medical equipment were offered by Denmark and Sweden through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. This package is slated to reach Iraq on December 14.

Material assistance complements EU’s humanitarian funding

So far this year, €134m worth of humanitarian aid has reached Iraq, helping the war-torn country to cover the essential needs of the most vulnerable as regards food, healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene as well as protection, shelter and education in emergencies.

Over €50m of this funding has been used to actively support Mosul and Hawija emergencies.

Needs are still many, as winterisation and emergency health assistance are still lacking, while field-level trauma care, medical evacuation and stabilisation capacity always need support.