The ambulances are being provided as part of the project "Increasing Access to Emergency Response Services for IDPs and Refugees in the Kurdistan Region," implemented by UNOPS on behalf of the Government of Japan, in partnership with the Kurdistan Regional Government's Bureau for Migration and Displacement (BMD).
The project aims to support the BMD in providing emergency medical services to IDPs and refugees residing in three Iraqi governorates – Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Kirkuk.
The handover ceremony on 17 November was attended by the newly appointed Japanese Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Fumio Iwai; Mr. Hoshang Mohammed, Director General of the Kurdistan Regional Government's Ministry of Interior's Joint Crisis Coordination Centre; and Mr. Shokr Yaseen, Director General of the BMD.
Ambassador Iwai said: "I am confident that this project will ease the plight of internally displaced persons in the region who were forced to leave their homes by Daesh".
Receiving the ambulances on behalf of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Mr. Yaseen said: "We highly value this donation as it addresses the needs of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for ambulances, which could save the lives of thousands of women, men and children in the IDP camps".
Ms. Bana Kaloti, Director of the UNOPS Middle East Regional Office, expressed: "Contributing ambulances enables the Government to provide Iraqis with critical emergency services and shows Japan's engagement with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region".
The ambulances will help improve the capacity of the BMD to continue to provide emergency response services in IDP and refugee camps, as well as host communities in the area.
The Government of Japan has extended grant assistance of $1,540,000 for the provision of these ambulances to bolster emergency health services.
Iraq is now home to more than 3.1 million IDPs, with more than 28% currently residing in the Kurdistan Region. Another 250,000 Syrian refugees are also hosted in Iraq, almost all of whom have settled in the same region.