The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) humanitarian aid shipment consisting of 16 containers will leave Jebel Ali Port on Saturday for Erbil, Iraq, officials said on Thursday.
The aid is being sent from the stockpile in Dubai and is worth about Dh1.9 million.
UNHCR officials said the shipment will first head to Bandar Abbas in Iran by sea, then to Erbil by land. The shipment is expected to reach Erbil in two weeks.
"This shipment is part of more than 2,000 tonnes of humanitarian assistance that the UNHCR are planning and have already started for the emergency situation in Iraq,” MohammedAbu Asaker, Public Information and Communications Officer at UNHCR told Gulf News.
This shipment contains 10,000 kitchen sets, 40,000 blankets and 25,000 jerry cans of water.
He said that the UNHCR had already sent a plane carrying relief items from Amman, Jordan, on Wednesday. "This airplane is one of four airplanes from Amman to Erbil. Each of the planes is carrying 100 tonnes of humanitarian assistance…there are also 174 trucks leaving from Turkey to Kurdistan very soon."
Abu Asaker said that Iraq is in immense need of humanitarian assistance. "There are around 1.2 million internally displaced people in Iraq, Some 600,000 of them have just been recently displaced in the last few months and are in need of emergency assistance. It has become our top priority, as they are living without water, food, money — only the clothes on their backs.”
He said the shipment is going out from the International Humanitarian City (IHC), which is the UNHCR's largest global stockpile out of its seven stockpiles. "The UNHCR's headquarters depends on the Dubai stockpile as its first line responder to emergency situations.”
In 2013, Abu Asaker said, UNHCR sent humanitarian relief to 36 countries including Syria, South Sudan, Mali and Libya from the Dubai stockpile.
Established in 2003 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, the IHC has grown to become one of the world's largest logistics hub for humanitarian aid. It has nine UN agencies and some 50 NGOs and commercial entities as members.
"We [UNHCR] cannot reach this success without the logistical support of the IHC, that was an initiative by Sheikh Mohammad, and the support of Shaima Al Zarouni IHC's CEO.”
He said that the IHC also represents the humanitarian role of the U.A.E. in contributing to the humanitarian response to emergency situations all over the world, adding "With this support we were able to have access to six international airports, three ports and the logistic support we receive on the ground.”