WHO Bemoans Lack of Treatment for Millions in Iraq

World Health Organization says more than five million in need of health services - but no funds to provide it.

Tags: Iraq ISIS WHO UN
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Yazidi refugees in Iraq
Yazidi refugees in Iraq

The UN's health body said Monday that more than five million people need medical services in Iraq as it bemoaned a 70 percent gap in funding required to help.

"The longer we wait, the more critical the situation becomes for those who need urgent, life-saving health services," World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director Ala Alwan said during a visit to Iraq.

The agency said that only 30.4 percent of the funding required by the health sector had been received, leaving a gap of $218.7 million (206 million euros).    "The situation is alarming," Alwan said.

"More than five million people in Iraq are currently in need of health services. While WHO and health partners are doing all we can to save lives, our efforts are hindered by insufficient funding."

On Saturday, Alwan visited the northern region of Kurdistan, which has welcomed many of the 2.5 million people displaced by conflict since last year.  

Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes when fighters from the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) swept through Iraq in June 2014, and thousands more have been displaced in efforts by Iraqi security forces to retake ground from the jihadists.

Alwan said that major disease outbreaks had so far been avoided but warned that any further delays in funding the health drive would put people's lives at risk.

AFP contributed to this report.