U.N. grades Iraq's humanitarian crisis as most severe

The U.N. Security Council voted to support Haider al-Abadi, Iraq's prime minister-designate.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   Aug. 14, 2014 at 11:07 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- The United Nations assigned a "Level 3" grade, the highest level of emergency, to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq.

Wednesday's designation, a risk management description used to assess threat levels and follow pre-determined protocols for action, comes after Islamic State militants in Iraq isolated persecuted religious minorities in Iraq's Kurdish-held Sinjar mountains.

A statement by the United States, which sent a 20-person team to help evacuate the Yazidi religious community from the mountain range, said the Yazidis' situation was not as dire as they had expected -- the group's condition improved due to airdrops of humanitarian aid.

The U.N. decision came the same day the U.N. Security Council voted to support the appointment of Haider al-Abadi as Iraq's new prime minister. A Security Council statement urged Abadi "to work swiftly to form such a Government as quickly as possible and within the constitutional timeframe."

Abadi, appointed prime minister Tuesday, has 30 days to choose cabinet ministers and form a new government -- an administration many observers hope will be more inclusive than that of the current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

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