EU creates 'humanitarian air bridge' to Iraq to help the state manage COVID-19 pandemic

The latest in a series of EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights with over 40 tons of medical and emergency supplies to reinforce the humanitarian response has arrived in Iraq. The flight is part of the ongoing Team Europe support to deliver assistance to the most serious humanitarian crisis in the world, which are impacted by transport restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EU is also providing a new humanitarian aid package of €35 million to help victims of conflict and forced displacement in Iraq and boost the COVID-19 response. Over recent years, Iraq has seen a genocidal dictatorship, the Iraq war, a bloody civil war after the toppling of Saddam Hussein, the rise of ISIS, and continued instability in some regions. 

Iraq is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 115,000 reported causes and low testing numbers. The EU is working with other aid agencies and humanitarian partners to support medical facilities and health care workers across Iraq as well as supporting the implementation of public health measures in camps and places of detention, and raising awareness on how to mitigate risks.

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: 

The EU continues to stand by those most in need in Iraq. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, humanitarian organisations are facing very difficult access conditions, while the needs in Iraq are increasing. This humanitarian air bridge is a tangible expression of EU solidarity with the most vulnerable.

EU humanitarian assistance in Iraq focuses on delivering lifesaving assistance such as emergency healthcare, shelter, access to safe water and sanitation, education and protection. EU humanitarian aid is channelled to some 400,000 people, many of them women and children.

The EU is a leading donor of humanitarian aid in Iraq, in line with the Union's commitment to 'humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence'. Since 2015, the EU has provided over €490 million in humanitarian support to the country.