Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki announced the allocation of 100 million dollars to support services in Basra province, 25,000 temporary employment opportunities for people of the region and compensation for residents whose homes were damaged during the military operations.
This was announced in a press conference held on Thursday, April 3rd, in which he confirmed his decision to facilitate the entry of aid into Sadr City.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi Ministry of Trade took a prompt step by evaluating the food situation in Basra province, in southern Iraq, as well as in the Baghdad neighborhoods of Sadr City, Al-Shoala, and Al-Kadhimiyah. This was done in order to provide aid to the areas affected by events in the region during the past few days. The Ministry created an operating office in order to find the mechanisms to provide food aid and to distribute it as part of the food ration cards program.
The statement from the Ministry of Trade quoted Minister Abdul Falah Al-Sudani as saying: “The commission that was formed, headed by the General Director of the Ministry Board and Membership of Agencies and Companies that is responsible for providing food began its actual operations by distributing food to Basra province agencies. Transporters and agencies in Sadr City, Al-Shoala and Al-Kadhimiyah were also offered their allocation for the month of April, beginning on Tuesday, April 1st. The allocation includes all the items that are included in the food ration card.”
This step comes at a time when the Baghdad operations leadership announced the lifting of the curfew throughout Baghdad last March 31st, with the exception of Sadr City, Al-Shoala and Al-Kadhimiyah, where the curfew was lifted on pedestrians but still applies to vehicles.
“Kulna Iraq”, one of the civil society organizations, called on the government, citizens and merchants to provide aid to the people of Al-Shoala, Al-Kadhimiyah and Sadr City. The President of the Organization, Doctor Suha Al-Azawi, said that she had been able to gather a reasonable amount of food articles from a number of businesses. These were placed in one of the donation areas in the Sheraton Hotel, in the center of Baghdad, from where they will be transported and distributed to the affected areas. She asked Iraqis to extend a helping hand to their brothers in these areas, and to give what they can at the Sheraton Hotel, adding that there was real need for medicine and first-aid items.
“The society was able to get agreement from the government to move freely, in order to provide humanitarian assistance in a number of Baghdad neighborhoods,” the President of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, Doctor Said Ismail Haqqi, told Mawtani. He added that the organization lost one of its members and another was injured in clashes that took place in Qurna, in north Basra. He stressed the importance of the organization’s teams continuing to perform their tasks. Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki gave the organization the go-ahead to enter the city, in order to provide assistance.
In another matter, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, David Shearer arrived in Basra last Tuesday and, along with the Iraqi authorities, formed an emergency response team to evaluate the situation in Basra and to determine the amount of aid needed.
The UN Mission (UNAMI) announced in a statement that its assistance will include providing clean drinking water, health and medical assistance to approximate 70,000 families. In addition, the World Health Organization provided 1,600 units to provide medical assistance, in addition to first-aid medicine. The World Food Program furnished the people of the city with 200 tons of food. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees provided a number of blankets, cooking utensils, water containers to 8,000 families, while the International Organization for Migration gave 3,400 food baskets.
The assistance provided by the government and civil society organizations to families in Basra and other regions that were affected by the recent armed clashes fits within their goal of returning stability to these areas. Iraqi armed forces, under the leadership of Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, launched a military campaign to destroy organized criminal gangs and terrorist organizations in these areas.