Britain will contribute £3 million in aid to Iraq to begin to help those forced to flee their homes in the violence.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said the initial cash would allow agencies to supply:
- Hygiene kits
- Basic household items
The United Nations said 500,000 people have fled due to the fighting. Ms Greening said:
Iraq is facing serious humanitarian need. The UK contribution to the international relief response will include initial funding for clean water, medicine and sanitation, as well as support for the UNHCR (the United Nations refugee agency) to provide dedicated safety and welfare teams to protect vulnerable women.
The news came as Iran - a key ally of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Shia-dominated administration in Baghdad - indicated that it was ready to provide assistance.