U.S. deploys disaster response team to Iraq

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar west of Mosul, take refuge at Dohuk province, August 9, 2014. REUTERS/Ari Jalal

WASHINGTON - The U.S. is delivering food, water and aid teams to try to help tens of thousands of people who have been forced from their homes in Iraq in the fresh wave of violence in the country's north.

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah said Monday that the U.S. has deployed a disaster response team to Iraq to help distribute humanitarian aid.

Much of the assistance will go to thousands of members of an Iraqi religious minority group known as Yazidis who have been trapped on a mountaintop in northwest Iraq by Sunni militants with the Islamic State group. The team will help speed food, water and other life-saving supplies to Iraqis.

Shah said the U.S. teams would help coordinate the assistance distribution among Iraqi officials, international partners and humanitarian aid agencies.

U.S. Central Command said Monday that it had conducted a fifth airdrop of food and water for the displaced Yazidis. The command said U.S. military aircraft have delivered a total of more than 85,000 meals and more than 20,000 gallons of fresh drinking water.

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