Kirkuk residents desperately await food rations

Daquq, March 2020 – food markets are crowded due to delays of food rations – Photo by Muhammad Almas

Some of Kirkuk’s residents have received only two rations this year, and some of the food stuffs they’ve gotten is of very bad quality.

The delays in distributing food rations has put many families in Kirkuk in financial difficulties, and forced them to purchase food at high prices at the markets.

Yunis Barzan, a resident of Kirkuk’s Kurdistan neighbourhood, told KirkukNow: “In previous years, we would receive food rations every month; I’d get rice, cooking oil, sugar and flower, which would last the whole month. But nowadays I am forced to buy them at the market, which costs me a lot.”

The people are poor an unemployed; many can’t afford buying food

“The people are poor an unemployed; many can’t afford buying food. This year we’ve received only two rations, and the rice was inedible and would fall apart,” Barzan added.

This year, some of Kirkuk’s residents have received only two rations, others three. In previous years, each month’s rations would be distributed on time.

Salman Osman, one of the private contractors who distribute the rations, told KirkukNow: “People contact me to ask when food rations arrive. People live in difficulties; it is not right to cut such rations.”


Nineveh, 2019 – peopl in need in line to receive free bred provided by NGOs

“A container of cooking oil costs 1,500 Iraqi Dinars [$1,30], a sack of flower costs 17,000 [$14.50]. These are high prices for the poor. For the [government distributed] rations, one would pay only 2,000 [$1.70],” Osman added.

Osman continued: “The problem is at the Ministry of Commerce; the food warehouses are empty. I’ve had to suffer a lot of loss too, because I had rented three shops at once for which I have to pay 450,000 Dinars [$380] per month.”

Majida Ahmad, an official in charge of the distribution of rations, stressed to KirkukNow that the issue is not limited to Kirkuk, but extends to all of Iraq.

She said: “The issue is partly related to the delay in approving the budget [for this year].”

The monthly food rations started during the Oil-for-Food Programme which the UN imposed on Iraq in the 1990’s when the country was under an embargo. But in recent years, there has been many complaints about the quality and quantity of those rations.

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