World / Middle East

Australia extends additional aid to Iraq, Syria

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-10-22 11:16

CANBERRA - Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced on Wednesday that her country will provide an additional 15 million AU dollars ($13.1 million) for life-saving assistance to people in Iraq and Syria through the United Nations and other agencies.

An estimated 16 million people inside Iraq and Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance, half of whom have been forced to flee their homes by the ongoing violence perpetrated by terrorists.

"With winter approaching, displaced people in both countries are at risk of exposure to harsh weather, particularly those residing in unfinished buildings, crowded camps or in the open," Bishop said.

Australian funding will provide shelter, food and medical assistance.

In Iraq, Australia will provide 10 million AU dollars ($8.7 million) to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Program and the Plan International Australia.

"This funding will include support for women and for the protection of children targeted by terrorist organizations. This builds on Australia's support for women and girls in Iraq through the United Nations Population Fund," Bishop said.

In Syria, Australia will provide 5 million AU dollars ($4.4 million) to the World Food Program for the delivery of food and to an international non-government organization for urgent medical assistance.

This funding announcement brings Australia's total assistance for Iraq to 17 million AU dollars ($14.9 million) since June and for Syria to 135.8 million AU dollars ($119 million) since the conflict began in 2011.

Australia has contributed six F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jets, a surveillance aircraft, a refueler, 200 special forces soldiers, and 400 military support staff to the US-led mission against the terrorist group ISIL. Australian fighter jets have made their first strike against Islamic State militants in Iraq earlier this month.

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