Minister of State Maria Böhmer met representatives of the United Nations, the German Red Cross and non-governmental organisations at the Federal Foreign Office on 15 January. They discussed the situation of the people in Iraq and necessary aid measures in 2015.
Böhmer was impressed by the great support that the humanitarian aid organisations provided to the people in Iraq and called for their work to be continued to help the people survive the winter. However, the humanitarian efforts should not cease when the winter is over, she said. The Minister of State promised that the Federal Government would continue its humanitarian aid for the displaced persons in Iraq this year.
“We will continue to help the people in Iraq together with the humanitarian organisations of the United Nations, non-governmental organisations and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement”, Böhmer said. The Minister of State pointed out that, with humanitarian aid for Iraq totalling over 100 million euros, Germany was the third-largest donor in 2014.
Call for private donations
“The need is still immense, however, and the aid organisations are also reliant upon private donations”, Böhmer said. Germans have time and again shown their willingness to help, she went on. Böhmer called on the German people to continue to support the work of humanitarian organisations in Iraq with donations.
According to the aid organisations, the complex security situation in northern Iraq is one of the biggest challenges in their work, with the result that refugees can only be reached with great difficulty in a number of regions. In light of this concern, Böhmer stressed that, while the Federal Government was providing military support, the primary focus was on humanitarian aid. The humanitarian situation must be at the centre of all our efforts, the Minister of State said.
High level of humanitarian need
The representatives of the aid organisations described how the humanitarian aid has helped to mitigate the effects of the winter. Despite this, the people’s humanitarian need remains extremely high. This applies especially to the refugees outside the region of Kurdistan-Iraq, where access is difficult, also for aid organisations, as a result of ongoing fighting. The Federal Government’s humanitarian commitment was making an important contribution to alleviating the plight of displaced people, the representatives said.
Looking beyond the winter
In the region of Kurdistan-Iraq, which is currently hosting around one million internally displaced people, the aid organisations are currently focused on helping people both within refugee camps and outside in host families, whose willingness to help is overwhelming.
The aid organisations are providing the people in need with tents, blankets and stoves, among other things. “Winter relief for the people in Iraq is currently the primary focus. But we have to start looking beyond the winter now. It is important to develop structures that will be effective in the medium term”, said Minister of State Böhmer. “Women and young girls, children and young people, the sick and elderly and traumatised people all have different needs that we need to respond to accordingly with our humanitarian aid. We must also give the refugees access to basic healthcare and education.”