Press Releases

    20 January 2004

    UN Continues Humanitarian Work in Iraq

    NEW YORK, 19 January (OCHA) -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today apprised representatives of the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council of the United Nations’ active and ongoing engagement in humanitarian and rehabilitation activities in Iraq.

    Within the limitations imposed by the security situation, United Nations agencies and programmes are continuing to carry out a wide range of assistance through their national staff and Iraqi contractors, with the support of several hundred international staff in the region.  These activities include cross-border deliveries, rehabilitation projects and capacity-building.

    Coordination of the current United Nations activities is being undertaken by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), which has established several offices in the region.  Last month, Secretary-General Annan named Ross Mountain, United Nations Assistant Emergency Relief Coordinator, as his Special Representative ad interim.

    United Nations agencies are bringing in potable water; delivering medical supplies; providing fertilizer and seeds; dredging ports and helping rehabilitate health centres and water treatment plants, pumping stations and power supply systems.

    The United Nations is also engaged in capacity-building, training and other forms of support to Iraqi authorities.  This ranges from training in procurement and logistics to Ministry of Trade staff, to providing a start-up package to the new Ministry of Displacement and Migration.  The United Nations is also providing emergency health kits and public-health data for the Ministry of Health and providing financial assistance to Iraqi authorities for life-saving activities for children.

    The United Nations will continue to support the ration system, which remains an essential lifeline for a majority of the Iraqi population, with about 2.3 million tonnes of food to be delivered by mid-2004.  United Nations agencies are also providing nutritional support including high-energy biscuits for primary schools, kindergartens and social centres.

    The United Nations has also been assisting the voluntary return of refugees from Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as providing protection and assistance to refugees inside Iraq.  It is also developing ways to facilitate the return and reintegration of internally displaced persons in non-contentious areas in the north.

    The United Nations is prepared to expand these activities when security conditions make further assistance possible and has drawn up plans for further humanitarian and reconstruction activities for 2004 and beyond in areas such as education, health, food security, governance, poverty reduction, housing and infrastructure.

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