Channel NewsAsia

Kurds in the UK begin relief effort for those displaced in Iraq crisis

As international concern over the Iraq crisis grows, family and friends of those displaced who live abroad are rallying to help in the aid effort. Kurdish communities in the UK have begun coordinating a relief effort which will see aid flown to the Kurdistan capital Erbil in the coming days.

LONDON: Although far away, the Kurdish community in the UK are doing what they can to help those displaced in Iraq - at the Kurdish Cultural Centre in London, volunteers have just begun coordinating an aid effort. Locals and businesses are dropping off toiletries and dry goods at various centres across the UK. The aid will soon be flown out to Kurdistan in a joint effort with international charity Save the Children.

Karam Kurda, one of the volunteers, said: "Everyone is very distressed and alarmed (by the situation in Iraq). We didn't expect something like this to happen again. We have seen these sorts of things go on in the 90s, the 80s and even before then. There have always been Kurdish refugees. But we felt here that the region was relatively safe now and this seems to have popped up from nowhere."

Aid from the UK government is already en-route but many believe the response from the British government is not good enough. Adnan Kochar, who is with the Kurdish Cultural Centre, said: "The amount of aid the British is providing on this situation, I think it is not up to standard. The British government is responsible. The British political parties are responsible for what terrorists are doing to innocent people across the world."

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has been chairing emergency meetings with government officials. New measures may include the deployment of Tornado jets for surveillance purposes.

The British government is coming under increasing pressure to do more the tackle the situation in Iraq. But what is clear is that Kurdish community groups in the UK are taking it on themselves to help in the relief effort.