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UN airlifts winter supplies to Iraq

By Hpanchal on December 3, 2013

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) commenced an emergency airlift of needed winter supplies to reinforce its stockpile in northern Iraq with relief items for up to 50,000 vulnerable Syrians.

The UNHCR-chartered Etihad Boeing 777 aircraft landed at Erbil Airport carrying 90 tonnes of various relief items to help 4,400 families over the winter months, including plastic tarpaulins, thermal blankets, sleeping mats, jerry can fuel containers and kitchen sets.

"While UNHCR has adequate stocks inside Iraq to meet the immediate needs, we want to ensure that sufficient items are on-hand to address any developments," said Amin Awad, UNHCR's Amman, Jordan-based director for the Middle East and North Africa. "The relief items we are airlifting will reinforce the UNHCR-led winterization regional response as temperatures are starting to drop across higher altitude areas in the Syria region."

Another Boeing 777 flight chartered by UNHCR landed in Erbil with a similar cargo of relief items for some 4,400 families. A commercial freight flight carrying items for some 1,200 families will land Tuesday.

UNHCR is adding Erbil as one of its regional emergency stockpiles for core relief items. The agency already maintains a global stockpile in Amman, as well as a global central emergency stockpile in Dubai.