Trickle of international aid will do nothing to alleviate Iraq’s human tragedy

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By Fatih Abdulsalam

Azzaman, August 21, 2014

There is ostensibly a massive campaign going on to deliver aid to hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been displaced from cities, towns and villages in at least five provinces.

The fighting that has been raging since Islamic State’s onslaught on the northern and western areas of the country has led to human tragedies which words are not enough to describe.

There are at least half a million Iraqis struggling to remain alive. After fleeing their homes, they live in the open lacking basic public utilities.

The U.N. Refugee Agency, UNHCR, announced a few days ago that it would start ferrying humanitarian aid by air to help hundreds of thousands of Christians, Yazidis, Muslims and others who were forced to flee their homes.

The agency speaks of 100 tons of emergency aid and 175 trucks carrying basic amenities and the delivery of more than 2,000 tons of food.

To the uninitiated, the figures seem huge but when put within the context of what is happening in Iraq they are merely a trickle of the emergency needs.

Major cities, institutions, services, factories, refineries, oil fields, highways and roads are out of service. Millions of people, particularly in the restive provinces and areas which turned into battle fields are on the move.

There are expectations that a plight may befall the nearly two million people of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city as militants of the Islamic state are imposing a way of life they are not willing to tolerate and cannot bear.

There are fears that ongoing fighting over the Mosul Dam, Iraq’s largest, may lead to a calamity. The dam is in urgent need of ongoing repairs and maintenance, which has not been done for a long time.

Any damage to the dam, whether for lack of maintenance or because of fighting, will have catastrophic consequences.