Fatima, 10, washes her face at a water tank provided by UNICEF in Tinah Camp on September 5, 2016. USAID has been supporting UNICEF to provide safe drinking water at the displacement camp in Ninewa Governorate to keep families, especially kids, healthy.

Key Developments

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recently released the 2019 Iraq Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), requesting $701 million to provide life-saving assistance to nearly 1.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees, and host community members. The HRP aims to facilitate a post-conflict transition to durable solutions by supporting access to basic services and livelihood opportunities for IDPs and returnees; ensure the centrality of protection, including through the development of a post-conflict protection strategy; and strengthen contingency planning and preparedness for potential future emergencies, such as disease outbreaks or natural disasters.

Although more than 4.2 million people had returned to areas of origin as of February 28, more than 1.7 million people remain displaced, with more than 1 million IDPs in protracted displacement for more than three years, according to the International Organization for Migration. Many displaced Iraqis will continue to require humanitarian assistance throughout 2019.

Relief actors continue to report collective punishment of people with perceived affiliations to extremist groups, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. In recent weeks, IDPs residing in camps in Kirkuk and Ninewa governorates have reported that camp security guards and Government of Iraq- affiliated armed forces have restricted IDPs’ freedom of movement, preventing them from leaving the camps or from returning to their areas of origin.









Total USAID and State Assistance to the Iraq Humanitarian Response in FY 2018


*These figures are current as of April 5, 2019


The situation within Iraq remained relatively stable until January 2014, when Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forces began seizing control of parts of northern and central Iraq. Significant population displacement ensued as civilians fled to areas of relative safety, such as the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, to escape fighting. The ongoing conflict has displaced nearly 3.4 million people within Iraq since early 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

In 2017, the UN estimates that 11 million people in Iraq require humanitarian assistance. Prolonged displacement is exhausting the resources of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host community members alike at a time when serious budgetary shortfalls due to low global oil prices are limiting the capacity of both the Government of Iraq and Kurdistan Regional Government to respond to humanitarian needs. Meanwhile, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other relief actors face funding shortages, logistical challenges, and security constraints that complicate efforts to meet critical needs.

On August 11, 2014, USAID deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to help coordinate USG efforts to address the urgent humanitarian needs of newly displaced populations throughout Iraq. DART and U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (State/PRM) staff in Iraq work closely with local officials, the international community, and humanitarian actors to identify critical needs and expedite assistance to affected populations. To support the DART, USAID also established a Response Management Team (RMT) based in Washington, D.C.

On October 10, 2016, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Douglas A. Silliman re-declared a disaster in Iraq for Fiscal Year 2017 due to the ongoing complex emergency and humanitarian crisis.

Related Sectors of Work 

Last updated: April 12, 2019

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