Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

US airdrops food to civilians stranded on mountain in Iraq

US-IRAQ-l Pallets of bottled water loaded aboard a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in preparation for a humanitarian airdrop over Iraq. (Source: AP)
Press Trust of India | Washington | Posted: August 9, 2014 10:49 am

On saturday, the US military conducted a second airdrop of large quantity of food and water for thousands of refugees trapped on Iraq’s Sinjar mountain after fleeing the rampaging militants of the Islamic State.

Conducted from multiple airbases in the region, the airdrop was done by one C-17 and two C-130 cargo aircraft that together dropped a total of 72 bundles of supplies.

The cargo aircraft were escorted by two F/A-18s from the USS George H W Bush, the Pentagon said.

The C-17 dropped 40 container delivery system bundles of meals ready to eat and was complemented by a C-130 loaded with an additional 16 bundles totaling 28,224 meals.

In addition, one C-130 dropped 16 bundles totaling 1,522 gallons of fresh drinking water, the statement said.

So far US military aircraft have delivered 36,224 meals and 6,822 gallons of fresh drinking water, providing much- needed aid to Iraqis who urgently require emergency assistance, the Pentagon said.

Thousands of families from the Yazidi minority community are reportedly trapped in the mountains without food and water after fleeing the rampaging fighters of the Islamic State, also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS.

Throngs of refugees, many of them Iraqi Christians, are also on the run after their largest city, Qaraqosh, was occupied by the militants from the al-Qaeda splinter group.

The humanitarian mission is being conducted at the direction of President Barack Obama.

“There is a religious and ethnic minority, a population of thousands of people — men, women and children — who are stranded at the top of this mountain. ISIL forces are marshaled at the base of the mountain, vowing to kill those who descend. And that is an urgent humanitarian situation,”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

The first humanitarian mission was conducted on Friday.

The strategy right now is to try to meet the basic and immediate humanitarian needs of those who are trapped in these pretty terrible conditions, he said.

“The President authorized military action to try to address an urgent, even dire, humanitarian situation on Sinjar Mountain, and more generally, a willingness on the part of the American people to continue to stand with the people of Iraq as they pursue a future that is reflective of the diverse population of the nation of Iraq,” Earnest said.

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