Australia supports humanitarian effort for Iraq

News and Press Release
Originally published
AA 03 007 19 Feb 2003 - The Commonwealth Government will provide $10 million to assist United Nations' agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross to prepare for humanitarian relief operations in Iraq.

Australia hopes a peaceful resolution of the current crisis will be achieved. The UN Secretary General has confirmed that the UN is undertaking contingency planning to address possible humanitarian concerns for the Iraqi people and requires urgent funding for this purpose.

Australia has a proud record of assisting countries with humanitarian and emergency aid. This contribution is also consistent with Australia's long-standing commitment to supporting the UN's central role in Iraq.

Once the Iraqi crisis is resolved, the UN and ICRC would play a critical role in the delivery of emergency relief and reconstruction, regardless of whether or not there is military conflict.

Australia's assistance will enable these agencies to provide the people of Iraq with urgent humanitarian assistance, including food, water and sanitation, and health care.

Australia's $10 million contribution will be for the following:

  • $6 million will be committed to the Central Emergency Revolving Fund, which is an existing contingency resource for UN operational agencies to assist emergency relief and humanitarian operations
  • $2 million will be committed to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which is responsible for coordinating humanitarian assistance and an agency that Australia has long supported
  • $2 million will be committed to the ICRC. The ICRC has a well-respected role in helping provide essential humanitarian assistance while adhering to the core humanitarian principles of neutrality and impartiality.
In addition to this initial financial support for humanitarian activities, Australia will consult with UN agencies to see if it can provide further support by mobilising suitably qualified aid personnel. Australia has a well-respected and high level of expertise and skills in the planning and delivery of humanitarian relief.


Chris Kenny (Mr Downer's office) 6277 7500 or 0419 206890
Jo Elsom (AusAID) 6206 4960 or 0412 804 489