Australia has carried out its first airdrop to refugees in northern Iraq, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Thursday, joining a growing international effort to deliver humanitarian assistance.
The cargo included 150 boxes of high energy biscuits and 340 boxes of bottled water — enough to sustain 3,700 people for 24 hours.
The United Nations has said tens of thousands of members of minority groups, including Yazidis and Christians, were stranded on Mount Sinjar and facing “a mass atrocity and potential genocide within days or hours”.
However, the Pentagon said on Wednesday that — based on a firsthand assessment by a small party of US troops — the plight of those stranded was better than feared, and an evacuation mission “is far less likely”.
The US on Wednesday conducted its seventh airdrop of food and water, while British Prime Minister David Cameron said an international plan was under way to rescue those trapped.