The United States is set to withhold an additional $4 billion in food aid, which it says is needed to help Iraqis in the aftermath of the Mosul offensive, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
In an effort to help rebuild a devastated country that was hit by a major oil price collapse last year, the U.S. is using a program to help the country’s neighbors recover and rebuild.
The Food and Nutrition Service will send a total of $3.4 billion over two years to Iraq and neighboring countries, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said at a press conference.
He added that $2 billion in additional funds would go to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Iraqi government officials said the $4.4-billion figure was the sum the U:s administration has requested from the Iraqi government to assist the country in its reconstruction effort.
The program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is aimed at helping millions of Iraqis whose homes and livelihoods were devastated by the oil price crisis last year.
The U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq has said that an estimated 10 million people in the country are on the brink of starvation.
The food aid is part of a $7 billion U.P.A. aid package that was approved by Congress in September.
The package was meant to help with the reconstruction of the country and provide food to millions of people.
Hagel also announced that the U,S.
would waive a ban on providing food assistance to Iraqi civilians in the wake of the battle for Mosul, where U.K.-led coalition forces launched an offensive against Islamic State.
The move is a victory for the coalition, which has been in Iraq since 2014 and has had limited success in driving the jihadists from the northern city.