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New Hope for Displaced Iraqis

Mar 10, 2018

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman recently joined the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General and UN Development Program, or UNDP, Resident Representative Lise Grande for a visit to several sites in the Ninewa Plains of Iraq. The visit sought to highlight the U.S.-UN partnership in supporting the Iraqi government's efforts to help its most vulnerable people return home following the liberation of their territory from ISIS.

During his visit to the historically Christian towns of Al Hamdaniya and Karamless, home to Syriac Catholic and Chaldean Catholic communities respectively, Ambassador Silliman reaffirmed the U.S. government's commitment to supporting the UNDP Funding Facility for Stabilization. To date, the United States has provided 190.3 million dollars to this program. This includes a recent 75 million dollar contribution, portions of which the United States has specifically set aside for projects in the Ninewa Plains.The second tranche of an additional 75 million dollars is pending.

Iraqi civilians walk toward Iraqi security forces after fleeing their homes. (File)
Iraqi civilians walk toward Iraqi security forces after fleeing their homes. (File)

The U.S. government also plans to fund non-governmental and private organizations to help communities in the Ninewa Plains and western Ninewa, including ethnic and religious minorities.

Separately, the United States has contributed more than 1.7 billion dollars in humanitarian assistance since 2014 for conflict-affected Iraqis who were displaced by the ISIS threat.

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq Lise Grande said, “We are very grateful for the contribution of the U.S. government. UNDP is currently implementing more than 1,000 projects across Ninewa Governorate.”

The visit also included meetings with Syriac Catholic and Chaldean Catholic religious leaders and a tour of the Karamless primary health care center, another UNDP stabilization project that the United States will be partially funding.

“We are committed to supporting UNDP stabilization projects like these until all displaced Iraqis can return to their liberated, stabilized areas,” said Ambassador Silliman at the reopening of the Al Hamdaniya Hospital, which was looted and vandalized during the ISIS occupation before its initial rehabilitation by UNDP.

The U.S. government recently approved 2.6 million dollars to fund UNDP's further rehabilitation of the hospital and the purchase of necessary medical equipment. Ambassador Silliman added, “As I look at this facility, I see it as a symbol of hope that more peaceful and prosperous days lie ahead for the people of this community.”