At a conference in Washington, Switzerland announced it will give another CHF1 million ($1 million) to assist internally displaced people in Iraq. The new pledge will bring the total amount of humanitarian aid to Iraq this year to CHF10 million.
“The people of Iraq are paying a very heavy price, caught between clashing pro-government forces and the self-proclaimed Islamic State group,” the government said in a statement.
“The more than 85,000 people who have fled since May are unable to meet even their most basic needs. These internally displaced persons are in addition to some three million civilians who have fled their homes since the beginning of the crisis.”
The extra CHF1 million will be used to “help strengthen protection activities and access to drinking water for displaced civilians in central Iraq”.
Of the funds already pledged, some will help support the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations, plus Swiss and Iraqi NGOs. Another portion is funding the activities of three experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit – particularly in the areas of protection and ensuring supplies of drinking water.
“Switzerland calls on all parties to the conflict in Iraq to respect their obligations under international law, in particular international humanitarian law,” the government stated. “Civilians and those who are no longer taking part in hostilities must be protected and treated with humanity.”
The conference of donor countries in Washington on Wednesday was organised to mobilise funds to assist internally displaced people in Iraq. The conference gathered nearly $2 billion amid fears that a new IS offensive in the region could displace up to 1.5 million people.