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    Posted August 14, 2014 by

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    ShelterBox tents ready for Iraqi families fleeing Sinjar Mountain

    Image: IRAQI KURDISTAN. SEPTEMBER 2013. ShelterBox has previously assisted families in Iraqi Kurdistan. (Simon Clarke/ShelterBox)

    As the United Nations (UN) declares a "Level 3 Emergency" for Iraq, ShelterBox partners with both the UN and the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) in an attempt to deliver vital shelter to families previously stranded on Sinjar Mountain.

    Thousands of people, mostly religious minorities, were left stranded atop Sinjar Mountain after being driven from their homes by the advance of Islamic state militants in the region. The rapid advance of militant fighters has thrown Iraq into crisis and has now led to overseas involvement in the form of aid interventions. The UN estimates that 1.2 million Iraqis have now been internally displaced by the crisis. ShelterBox has a wealth of experience in humanitarian response in the region as the organization has been responding to the Syrian crisis since early 2012.

    The UN has issued a statement explaining: "Given the scale and complexity of the current humanitarian catastrophe, this measure [declaring a Level 3 Emergency] will facilitate mobilization of additional resources in goods, funds and assets to ensure a more effective response to the humanitarian needs of populations affected by forced displacements."

    The severity of this crisis is not to be overlooked as today’s UN statement goes on to clarify that a Level 3 Emergency "represents the highest level of humanitarian crisis."

    In a week that has seen both the UK and US completing aid drops of food and water into the region, the latest announcement from the UN comes amidst growing concerns for what lies ahead for the families stranded atop Sinjar Mountain. Concern is also mounting for those families who have, in recent nights, fled the mountain under the cover of darkness and are now in search of shelter.

    ShelterBox currently has prepositioned stock in Iraq and will be working with UNHCR and ACTED to move 500 UN specification tents to Duhok, near the border with Syria, to be used to establish a camp to provide shelter for internally displaced people such as those fleeing Sinjar Mountain.

    Although daytime temperatures in the region are currently high, the ShelterBox operations team is currently making provisions to supplement the current stock of shelter in Iraq with winterization kits. This is more of a precautionary measure should the need for shelter sadly extend into the colder winter months.

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