Lack of Funding a Major Obstacle to Humanitarian Work

May 18th, 2006 - by admin

IRIN Report – 2006-05-18 23:44:38

BAGHDAD (May 9, 2006) — The findings of a recent survey conducted by a group of non-governmental organisations, under the aegis of the NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq (NCCI), cite a lack of funding as a major obstacle for humanitarian projects in Iraq.

“There’s a lack of funding from neutral institutions not linked with the parties involved in the conflict, said NCCI Information Officer Cedric Turlan. “This problem has become even more important since the departure of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) last year.”

Before it left Iraq early last year for reasons of security, ECHO was one of the biggest humanitarian agencies in the country. ECHO funds contributed to the rehabilitation of schools and the clearing of unexploded mines and bombs impeding the delivery of humanitarian aid. ECHO continues to provide some assistance to Iraq, through other partners, but not to the same extent as before. Overall, it has been supporting around 100 projects implemented by the UN aid agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and international NGOs.

According to Sinan Youssef, a senior official at the labour and social affairs ministry, security must be enhanced before adequate funding can be expected. “Security should be improved because that’s the only way donors will send more money to help stave off countrywide humanitarian collapse,” said Youssef.

According to survey findings, released on 2 May, the countries’ many humanitarian emergencies are attributable to three primary causes: violence; natural disasters and disease; and weak infrastructure. The nationwide survey was the first to involve almost all national and international NGOs currently working in Iraq. Its findings have led to urgent calls for help from the government and international agencies.

Turlan said that the country was in a state of emergency “because all rights are violated, people are under unacceptable pressure, violence is becoming normal, there is lack of food, water and electricity, and there are more than 1.5 million internally displaced people countrywide,” said Turlan.

“The main priority is to stop the violence, which is the source of most of the problems,” said Turlan. “Without a national agreement for peace, the situation will deteriorate and nobody knows what the consequences will be.”

The survey further found that a combination of military conflict, sectarian and political violence, and criminality and lawlessness, has had a devastating impact on the civilian population in terms of death, injury, illness, displacement, denial of fundamental human rights and the destruction of property and vital infrastructure. According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the survey represents an accurate account of the dire humanitarian situation.

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