Canada is dispatching $2.75 million to aid groups along with humanitarian supplies for northern Iraq, International Development Minister Christian Paradis said today, as the government also confirmed the first Canadian delivery of arms to Iraqi and Kurdish forces battling Islamic militants.

The Prime Minister's Office said in a release Friday that a CC-177 Globemaster III cargo plane delivered military supplies donated by the government of Albania to Iraqi and Kurdish forces battling fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. The release did not state when the flight occurred.

Canada has two planes in the region, the Globemaster and a CC-130J Hercules, conducting missions out of Cyprus and Eastern Europe, as part of the Canadian Air Task Force Iraq with allies including the United States and the United Kingdom.

The $2.75 million in funding announced Friday by Paradis is the remainder of a $5-million pledge made three weeks ago, and is being split as follows:

  • $1 million for the organization Development and Peace.
  • $750,000 for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • $750,000 for Save the Children Canada.
  • $250,000 for Mercy Corps.

The first $2.25 million announced ​Aug. 10 was split between the ICRC ($1 million), Mercy Corps ($750,000) and Save the Children Canada ($500,000).

Humanitarian supplies shipped from Dubai

Aid is badly needed in the area besieged by the incursion of ISIS militants. An estimated 1.3 million people are affected.

"We are dealing with persecuted religious minorities," Paradis said. "There are very, very basic needs to be addressed."

Canada is also deploying emergency supplies from a stockpile at a newly established warehouse of such goods in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, a news release said.

The aid is destined for Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq, which has seen savage attacks by ISIS over the past few months.

Paradis said locating a warehouse in Dubai allows for faster deployment to crisis areas in Africa and Asia.

"Canada's emergency relief stockpiles of basic, lifesaving necessities can be shipped around the world at any time," he said in a release. "In times of crisis, rapid delivery of basic supplies can be a matter of life and death."

The supplies being deployed from the Canadian warehouse in Dubai include blankets, tents and mosquito nets, kitchen sets, and basic hygiene items like toothpaste, razors and feminine hygiene products.

So far this year, Canada has earmarked $21 million for humanitarian needs in Iraq.

With files from Julie Van Dusen and The Canadian Press