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

More than 1.89 million people remained displaced across Iraq, while approximately 4.08 million people had returned to areas of origin as of September 30, according to U.S. Government (USG) partner the International Organization for Migration. The rate of returns has slowed, resulting in displacement that is increasingly protracted and leaving those who remain displaced in need of sustained humanitarian assistance in both camp and non-camp settings.

Critical protection concerns remain for both internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees. The Government of Iraq continues efforts to close IDP sites, raising concerns among humanitarian actors regarding unsafe returns and the potential for secondary displacement among households unable to return to areas of origin.

On September 10, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Douglas A. Silliman declared a disaster due to the health emergency in Iraq’s Basrah Governorate resulting from waterborne illness that affected at least 80,000 people between mid-August and late September. A USAID partner is addressing urgent water, sanitation, and hygiene needs in Basrah, including water trucking and rehabilitating a water treatment plant.

The USG recently announced $178 million in additional funding in Iraq to support the Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response (GRPR) Program and U.S. Department of State demining activities and social, economic, and political empowerment grants. The funding includes $51 million in humanitarian assistance from USAID's Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) and USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) for vulnerable populations, including ethnic and religious minorities.

In FY 2018, U.S. State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, USAID/FFP, and USAID/OFDA provided nearly $499 million in humanitarian assistance, bringing total USG assistance to Iraq since FY 2014 to nearly $2.5 billion.









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


*These figures are current as of September 30, 2018


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: November 15, 2018

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