THOUSANDS of aid packages being dropped over Northern Iraq have been airlifted out of Cotswold Airport near Kemble.

Last week the Prime Minister visited the airfield, north of Malmesbury, which is at the centre of the UK’s humanitarian aid mission to Iraq.

British Forces have been distributing food and clothes from the Department for International Development’s UK Aid Disaster Response Centre, to help refugees trapped on a mountain as they flee advancing Islamic State militants.

The United Nations has declared its highest level of emergency in Iraq and estimates that 1.2 million Iraqis have been internally displaced.

In a visit to Kemble last Thursday, David Cameron and MP for North Wiltshire James Gray saw some of the items which have been dropped, such as solar powered lamps and water purification containers that pump clean water by hand.

Mr Gray said: “Many local people work on the former RAF base, and I am proud that my constituents are making this contribution to helping the great need of the Yazidi people on the ground on Mount Sinjar.

“The situation in Northern Iraq remains deeply troubling, and we must continue to help all those stranded on Mount Sinjar with airdrops of emergency aid.

“I was pleased that the Prime Minister at Kemble and the Secretary of State for International Develop-ment in London both pledged to continue supporting the Yazidi refugees.”

The UK has so far committed £13 million in response to the crisis, including £2 million of emergency humanitarian supplies for 75,000 people; £3m of fast-tracked funding for Mercy Corps, the International Rescue Committee; £2.5m of support for the International Committee of the Red Cross; and £500,000 to ensure Kurdish and UN systems can coordinate and respond to humanitarian needs in the region.

Mr Cameron did not rule out the UK launching a rescue mission, saying the Government would “respond to the situation as it develops”.

He said: “We need to make sure we have good information about how many people there are, how many need to leave and how well they can get to a place of safety.

“Our plans have got to flexible enough to help those people, working with our allies like the Kurds to make sure we can help all these people in need.”