Press release: Funding from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides vital winter aid to 12,000 Iraqi Internal Displaced Persons | Mission East

Press release: Funding from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides vital winter aid to 12,000 Iraqi Internal Displaced Persons


Funding from Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides winter aid
People who have fled to the town of Zakho pick up their winter aid.

With the funding from Mission East’s Humanitarian Partnership Agreement with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Danish aid organisation now has the opportunity to help 12,000 Iraqi internal displaced persons who would otherwise be left without aid during the winter. Later this month Managing Director Kim Hartzner will travel to the area once again to participate in the distribution of the vital winter equipment.

Survival in unfinished buildings or homemade tents of cotton fabric, in temperatures below freezing; this is daily life for the more than 450,000 internally displaced persons who have fled to the Dohuk region of northern Iraq in the wake of Islamic State killings. However, with the approval of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to spend almost 900,000 DKK from its Humanitarian Partnership Agreement, Mission East can now further help approximately 2000 families, equivalent to about 12,000 people, who would otherwise be without help in the cold Iraqi winter. They will receive winter clothes and blankets, among other items.

And this is an important step in the right direction, is the opinion of Mission East’s Managing Director, Kim Hartzner. "The situation is deadly serious. These people have had to frantically flee their homes and they have nothing left. The approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs signifies their recognition of the degree of urgency in this situation. With the money from the partnership agreement, we now have the opportunity to help some of the most vulnerable people safely throughout the winter," says Kim Hartzner, who again will travel to the area to ensure the quality of the relief efforts later this month.

Protection from winter cold and infectious diseases

The work will specifically take place in the mountainous Zakho district, where there during the wintertime can be up to half a meter of snow. The UN is in the process of setting up camps in the area, but there is nowhere near enough for the thousands of displaced persons, therefore a large proportion of them are seeking refuge in makeshift tents all over the hillsides. Both in and outside of the towns IDPs are living in unfinished buildings without walls and with extremely limited access to sanitation. "Currently, Mission East’s staff are in the region and are working with the identification of groups that are not getting help elsewhere, so we can target our help to them," Kim Hartzner explains.

It is in light of this situation that Mission East applied for the approval of the Foreign Ministry to use some of the funds from the Humanitarian Partnership Agreement, which is dedicated to acute crises. The money will be spent on the most basic necessities such as mattresses, blankets, tarpaulins, buckets, jerry cans and soap to protect people against the cold weather and infectious diseases.

Mission East also facilitates dialogue between the displaced, local authorities and the owners of the unfinished buildings to get permission to make changes to the unfinished buildings, which through the use of timber constructions and plastic sheeting will be better suited for habitation.

Background

Mission East is a Danish international development and relief organization founded in 1991 by the physician Kim Hartzner and his father René Hartzner in response to the crisis in Eastern Europe.

Mission East often works in remote areas, and until 2005 Mission East built houses and water systems for returning Iraqis in northern Iraq, over a four year period. At that time the organisation was one of the first Danish organizations that entered the area and the last one to leave.

In 2013 Mission East signed a humanitarian partnership agreement with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is mainly targeted at the organisation's humanitarian work in Afghanistan. Through this partnership, Mission East has the opportunity, with the approval of the Ministry, to use 10 percent of the funding on acute crises. The majority of the 10 percent this year will be spent on providing emergency assistance for displaced Iraqis in the Zakho district.

 

Contact for further information:
Peter Sigetty Bøje | Deputy Managing Director | Mission East | Phone: (+45) 20 20 77 27 | E-mail: peter.boje@missioneast.org