Categorized | Editorial

Canada takes the lead in raising funds for Iraq

Posted on 29 June 2016 by admin

Fallujah, one of the last Daesh strongholds in Iraq, has fallen after a month-long offensive by Iraqi forces and their supporters. A jubilant Prime Minister Haider Abadi called on Iraqis to “get out and celebrate.”

But while the ouster of Daesh is a glimmer of light on the dark landscape of Iraq, there is little to celebrate for tens of thousands displaced by fighting and fear of the government-allied Shiite militias known for reprisals against the Sunni population.

Civilians who fled the fighting, numbering more than 85,000, are living in sub-human conditions in the parched Iraqi desert. Some are in the open, others in makeshift camps that lack basic sanitation and shelter.

That’s because international aid for Iraq, already inadequate, has now sunk dangerously low with the Fallujah crisis. And the cash-strapped Iraqi government, which greatly underestimated the numbers of people who would flee, was unable to provide adequate living conditions for them.

The United Nations has sounded the alarm with an emergency appeal for $65 million (U.S.) to address the Fallujah crisis, and the World Food Program (WFP) has called for $34 million in immediate food relief. But if the past is any indicator, the world may be too slow in responding. That would certainly worsen the ongoing humanitarian tragedy that has unfolded in Iraq since the 2003 U.S. invasion. Currently, more than 3 million people are internally displaced.

To its credit, the Trudeau government has stepped up with an announcement that it intends to co-host – along with the United States, Germany and Japan – a conference in July aimed at getting the world community to pledge money for aid to Iraq.

The misery of Iraq’s civilians is far from over. In the city itself, mines and unexploded ordnance, as well as shattered infrastructure, will make return difficult and reconstruction costly.

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