Funds for Iraq Humanitarian Assistance Slow to a Trickle

We came. We saw. We Conquered. We took our Money With Us.

The NGO Coordinating Committee for Iraq released a report showing a precipitous drop of funding for humanitarian assistance to Iraq.  According to the report, this threatens the future of UN agencies and NGOs that cater to Iraqis humanitarian needs.   The report draws a connection between the drawdown of American military presence in Iraq and the sharp decrease in American support for the humanitarian sector. As American troops leave, American dollars for things like refugee assistance and food aid for Iraqis are becoming more and more scarce.

As the US draws down its troops and supplies, which should culminate in a total withdrawal by 2012, funds for humanitarian relief operations in Iraq are dwindling at an alarming rate. US funding generally comprised 30-56% of total funding for humanitarian activity post-2003 invasion. However, the US is currently diverting its focus from Iraq towards the war in Afghanistan, as well as relief from natural disasters in countries like Haiti and Chile. Halfway through 2010, the US has only contributed $7.2 million to the [Iraq Humanitarian Action Plan] and other humanitarian assistance programs in Iraq; this comprises approximately 8% of the total funding collected so far in 2010. Furthermore, this total is $217.2 million less than US donor contributions in 2009.

Back in 2003, the most powerful country in the world decided it would lead a coalition to invade and occupy Iraq.  You can debate the merits of that decision all you want, but as a consequence, a civil war erupted that  displaced about 3 million people. These refugees and IDPs still depend humanitarian assistance to fulfill their basic human needs.  It seems to me that the United States has a special moral obligation to provide adequate levels of humanitarian assistance until such a time when the Iraqi government is fully capable of providing for its citizens. That time is not now.