UNICEF, the United Nations children's agency, says that humanitarian organizations are preparing to launch a fund-raising appeal for $500 million for the crisis created by the Islamic State militant group in Iraq.
The announcement came on Children's Day -- a day ahead of a meeting in Paris of the U.S.-led coalition of countries working to defeat the jihadist group in Iraq and Syria.
Philippe Heffinck, UNICEF's representative in Iraq, said in a June 1 statement, "The humanitarian situation in Iraq is close to disaster! We urgently need extra resources in order to continue assistance."
According to the UN agency, 8 million Iraqis are in urgent need of humanitarian aid, in particular the 3 million people who have been forced to flee their homes since the start of the IS offensive in June 2014.
All organizations currently active in Iraq would in Brussels on June 4 launch "a fund-raising appeal for nearly $500 million to cover relief operations over the next six months," UNICEF added.
With additional reporting by AFP