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UN sends aid to Amerli after Iraqi forces break ISIS siege

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks at a news conference while in Auckland, New Zealand, Sept. 2, 2014.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks at a news conference while in Auckland, New Zealand, Sept. 2, 2014.
Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

On Tuesday according to the UN News Center and from a statement by the United Nations chief, the UN Humanitarian Country Team has started to provide humanitarian assistance to residents of the Iraqi town of Amerli after Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga along with help by U.S. air support a day earlier broke a two-month long siege of the town. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “welcomed” the breaking of the siege, adding, “This has averted a major humanitarian as well as human rights disaster.”

“[Ban] expresses his appreciation to those who participated in lifting the siege, as well as to those countries providing assistance to the affected population through air drops,” the statement remarked. “The Secretary–General also welcomes the action of the UN Humanitarian Country Team who, in coordination with the local and national authorities, succeeded in distributing the first of a planned series of life-saving supply convoys to the children and families of Amerli.”

The UN News Center reported detailed information on relief efforts. UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac stated that 45 metric tons of supplies consisting of oral re-hydration kits, food supplies, water and hygiene kits have already been delivered to thousands within the town with additional supplies on the way to aid a total of 15,000 people. In addition, UN World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Fadéla Chaibhas stated that the agency was in the process of fulfilling requests for medicine and surgical supplies for the town.

U.S. air support played a critical role in helping to liberate the town. According to Reuters on Monday President Barack Obama sent an update to Congress as required by the War Powers Act concerning the use of American air support which began on Sunday. In addition to military airstrikes, the U.S. also supplied humanitarian aid to civilians who had been imprisoned by ISIS within the confines of the town since June. White House National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden noted that the mission was “consistent with the military missions we have outlined to date in Iraq; to protect U.S. personnel and facilities and to address the humanitarian situation on the ground."