Dr Marzio Babille, UNICEF Representative in Iraq speaking to RTÉ
The reported deaths of 40 children from minority groups who were displaced from Sinjar city and district by armed violence are of extreme concern.
According to official reports received by UNICEF, these children from the Yazidi minority died as a direct consequence of violence, displacement and dehydration over the past two days.
Families who fled the area are in immediate need of urgent assistance, including up to 25,000 children who are now stranded in mountains surrounding Sinjar and are in dire need of humanitarian aid including drinking water and sanitation services.
Sinjar, a district of Ninewa in northwest Iraq with a population of at least 150,000 children – including many who are internally displaced – was taken over by the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) on Sunday.
Children are particularly vulnerable, and are most affected by the continuing violence, displacement and fighting in Iraq. UNICEF repeats its urgent call for all children in need to be protected and immediately provided with life-saving assistance to prevent further loss of life.
UNICEF calls all those who have influence to immediately grant children and women free and safe access to areas of refuge and respect the special protection afforded to children under international humanitarian and human rights law.”
UNICEF has been in Iraq working for children since 1983.