U.S. and British planes are bringing life-saving food and water to Iraqis trapped on Mount Sinjar. The U.S. military said it carried out its sixth airdrop last night to aid the Iraqi war victims. Great Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) said this morning its planes had also delivered water and lanterns.
The trapped Iraqis, members of the Yezidi religion, were displaced by attacks from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The army of ISIL has conquered cities and towns during its push into Northern Iraq, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee for their lives.
While many civilians have reached areas in Kurdistan, thousands of Yezidis ended up trapped on Mount Sinjar by ISIL. They have no supplies on the mountain. Humanitarian aid agencies cannot reach them. Without the air drops thousands would starve to death.
The U.S. military says it has delivered nearly 100,000 meals and more than 27,000 tons of fresh drinking water to the Yezidis. The RAF says it will be providing more aircraft for the mission including the Tornado. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
Thousands of innocent people suffering in northern Iraq urgently need our help. Tornado aircraft will be able to play a specialist surveillance role to give us a more complete picture of the situation in the crisis area. I also want to express my gratitude to the aircrews and supporting personnel who have delivered three significant aid drops already and will continue to do so.”
The airlifts are part of a massive relief effort being carried out by the United Nations and other charities. More than one million people have been displaced by ISIL's attacks. In addition, the area of Kurdistan, where many displaced Iraqis have fled, is also home to refugees from the civil war in Syria. The Middle East is experiencing a massive, widespread and complex humanitarian emergency.
For the U.S. and British air forces, this is not the first time they have teamed up to feed the starving. Back during World War II, millions in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands were starving when U.S. and British planes dropped in food supplies.