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World Vision plans to provide aid in Northern Iraq

World Vision plans to provide aid in Northern Iraq

World Vision today announced its intention to work with the United Nations World Food Program to distribute food in Mosul, northern Iraq, which has been heavily hit over the last few days of the conflict.

Helen Green, CEO of World Vision New Zealand says the food will be distributed to people displaced within Iraq and other vulnerable groups. Aid delivery will begin as soon as practicable.

World Vision food aid specialists are working with the UN in Rome and the relief team in the region to determine the logistics of the food relief operations. World Vision is the World Food Program's largest distributor partner of food relief globally.

"Going on the United Nations' pre-conflict report on Iraq, food shortages will become critical in the next few weeks," says Mrs Green.

"World Vision is also set to provide other relief supplies such as blankets, tents, water containers in northern Iraq. These are being pre-positioned on the Syrian border with Iraq in preparation for relief work inside Iraq."

The leader of World Vision's relief efforts in Iraq, Ton Van Zutphen, said aid workers are still unable to enter southern Iraq to address shortages of food, water and medicines because neither side in the war has given guarantees of safe passage.

It may take up to a further four days for a convoy of aid to be allowed into Iraq. There will be no military escorts to or across the border and once aid agencies are inside Iraq, they are responsible for their own safety.

The most immediate needs are for medicines and water.

Meanwhile UN agencies and non-governmental charities welcomed the opening of the cross-border water pipeline from Kuwait. At the border, water is being piped into Iraqi trucks from a 20 centimetre diameter heavy plastic pipe. The pipe can supply two million litres a day, and the flow should be sufficient for more than a quarter of a million people.

The water would only be trucked to areas under secure US or British control. Around 100,000 people live in such areas, which include Umm Qasr and the nearby town of Umm Khayya.

World Vision New Zealand is accepting donations for relief aid in Iraq. Please phone 0800 77 66 76 or visit the website: http://www.worldvision.org.nz

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