RAF Tornados step up Iraqi air support
Archant © 2014
Tornados from RAF Marham have assisted a successful series of aid drops to help trapped Yazidis in Mount Sinjar, northen Iraq.
They have been surveying the area using a RAPTOR sensory system, to watch for people on the ground to allow RAF Hercules aircrafts to drop aid via parachutes.
The support has been provided to thousands of Yazidi refugees who have fled from Islamic State fighters.
Tornados can carry out missions up to heights of between 10,000 and 15,000ft, out of range of Islamic fighters.
12,000 Yazidis have fled further to Syrian refugee camps and will also be given aid.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “The British people can be proud that much-needed air supplies from the UK are getting through to help vulnerable people in northern Iraq who are facing terrible conditions.
“The RAF has successfully made seven drops, including thousands of containers filled with clean water that can also purify dirty waters and hundreds of shelter kits to provide shade from the scorching heat.”
Since August 9, 9.420 containers carrying 48,300 litres of water have been dropped and over a thousand shelter kits have been sent, to provide shade in soaring 40°C temperatures
12,000 Yazidi refugees meanwhile are to be delivered aid after walking 60km to a refugee camp across the Syrian border.
Justine Greening said: “These 12,000 Yazidi refugees have escaped a siege, walked 60km in 50 degree heat and found their way across the Syrian border to a refugee camp that used to house just 20 families.
“They have shown immense courage to make it this far and we are extremely concerned for their wellbeing.
“By supporting the work of the International Rescue Committee, Britain will provide vital medicine and water to give immediate assistance.
“Britain will continue to help the Yazidi people stranded on Mount Sinjar with airdrops of emergency aid.”
Up to 1,000 people are still trapped in Mount Sinjar.