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

Relief agencies continue to express concern regarding forced returns and coerced movements of internally displaced persons (IDPs) as the Government of Iraq consolidates and closes IDP camps throughout the country. In late August, the GoI began consolidating and closing Ninewa Governorate IDP camps, resulting in the relocation of nearly 10,200 households—representing 27 percent of all Ninewa camp IDPs—as of September 29, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Relief actors report poor communication between local authorities on the relocation process, lack of advance notice to humanitarian organizations and IDPs, and—in some cases—forced or coerced movements.


IOM recently reported—via its State/PRM-funded Data Tracking Matrix—a decrease in the number of IDPs countrywide, from nearly 1.61 million IDPs in June to approximately 1.55 million IDPs in August. Approximately 4.35 million people had returned to areas of origin between January 2014 and August 2019, IOM reports. 


In FY 2019, the U.S. Government (USG) provided nearly $470.6 million in funding to address the humanitarian needs of vulnerable populations in Iraq, as well as Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries. With USG funding, humanitarian partners are providing education, food, health, livelihoods, protection, shelter, and water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance to conflict-affected populations.  









Total USAID and State Assistance to the Iraq Humanitarian Response in FY 2019


*These figures are current as of September 30, 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).

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 are working 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.

Although major military operations against ISIS in Iraq have ended, approximately 1.67 million people remain displaced and these Iraqis are among the most vulnerable as many have been displaced for more than three years and will likely face significant challenges returning home. USAID is committed to help them safely return to their communities and will continue to provide assistance to displaced people as well as the increasing number of returnees.

Related Sectors of Work 

Last updated: October 31, 2019

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