Refugee crisis

Development Minister Müller travels to northern Iraq – people need the chance to build their lives at home

German Minister Gerd Müller meets Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations of the Kurdish regional government

01.10.2014 |

German Minister Müller is travelling to Erbil to see firsthand how German support measures are being implemented and what the situation is like in the Kurdish region in view of the dramatic developments and the growing number of refugees streaming into northern Iraq.

"More than two million people fleeing IS terrorists in Iraq and the civil war in Syria have found refuge in the Kurdish autonomous region," said Minister Müller prior to his departure. "The communities and people in the Kurdish region deserve our deepest respect for the outstanding support they are providing to the huge number of refugees. They are helping to ease the refugees' plight and are saving their lives. The international community must not leave the Kurdish regional government to deal with this challenging situation on its own. We need to prevent destabilisation in northern Iraq."

German Minister Müller and therapists of the Kirkuk Centre for victims of human rights violations

During his visit, Minister Müller will see how support measures are being implemented. He will have meetings with representatives of the Kurdish regional government and will meet Iraqi and Syrian refugees in their camps. He will also visit the Kirkuk Centre for victims of human rights violations, which receives funds from the BMZ.

"Winter is looming. For the people in the refugee areas this translates into more hardship; they need our help now," said Minister Müller. "Shelters for the refugees need to be properly equipped for winter. But it is just as important to support the host communities in terms of infrastructure. Children and youngsters need to be able to go to school, otherwise we will be left with a lost generation. However, this is the generation that will be desperately needed to rebuild villages and towns once the crisis is over."

In August, the BMZ quickly responded to the worsening situation in Iraq, making an additional 20 million euros available for immediate support measures to help the refugees there. A total of 15 million euros of these German funds is channelled through UNICEF, helping to establish a secure water supply in refugee camps and to improve sanitation, health care and child education. Two million euros are being used to support the World Food Programme in setting up field kitchens for 120,000 people in Erbil and Dohuk. Non-governmental organisations that are active on the ground are receiving three million euros.

Since 2012 and the beginning of the crisis in Syria, Germany has made a total of approximately 614 million euros available to the countries in the region. In addition to providing short-term humanitarian assistance, Germany aims to help preserve and build structures for development which will better the lives of both the refugees and the people in the host communities over the medium and long term.

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