UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- A massive United Nations aid operation for displaced Iraqis is underway as a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) cargo jet carrying 100 tons of humanitarian supplies landed in a northern city of the country on Wednesday, a UN spokesman told reporters here.
"A cargo jet with 100 tons of emergency relief supplies has landed in Erbil carrying thousands of tents, plastic sheets, kitchen sets and jerry cans," UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at the daily briefing. "More aid is on its way by air, road and sea."
According to UNHCR, aboard the Boeing 747 from Amman, Jordan, that landed in Erbil in Iraq's Kurdistan region Wednesday afternoon local time were 3,300 tents, 20,000 plastic sheets, 18, 500 kitchen sets and 16,500 jerry cans -- the first consignment in an operation that aims at bringing in 2,410 tons of aid between now and the start of September.
The aid will target living conditions for almost 500,000 displaced people in the region, many of whom are living rough in unfinished buildings, in parks or by the roadside.
The Wednesday flight will be followed by three others from Jordan on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, carrying 100 tons each. Aid is also on its way by road and sea, with 175 trucks bringing tents, blankets, plastic tarpaulins, and household items across borders from Turkey, Jordan and Iran from UNHCR warehouses in the region and Europe.
At the same time, "the UN refugee agency reports progress in building camps in Dahuk governorate, where displaced people are temporarily sheltering in over 640 schools," said Dujarric.
Furthermore, "the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that UN agencies and partners are scaling up their relief delivery in northern Iraq's Kurdistan region," he said. "The World Food Program (WFP) is providing food assistance to approximately 200,000 people per day in Dahuk governorate alone. "
Meanwhile, "the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, has expressed grave concern over recent acts violence committed against members of the Sunni community in Basra governorate," said the UN spokesperson.
"Since 23 June, at least 19 Sunni civilian men have been killed and another 19 have been injured," Dujarric quoted the UN Assistance Mission (UNAMI), which Mladenov heads, as saying. "The perpetrators are reportedly unidentified gunmen."
"Mladenov has called on authorities in Basra to do all they can to strengthen security measures to prevent further acts or threats of violence against minorities. He has urged the authorities to investigate the crimes and prosecute those responsible," Dujarric added.
Iraq is facing an insurgency by the Islamist group Islamic State (IS), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has seized swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and has forced thousands of people mainly from minority communities to flee their homes.
According to UNHCR, across Iraq, an estimated 1.2 million people have been displaced so far this year, including more than 500,000 from fighting in the Anbar region which began in January, and more than 600,000 displaced from conflicts in and around Mosul since June and more recently Sinjar. The majority of the newly displaced are in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.