Iraq Complex Emergency Fact Sheet #3

Speeches Shim

August 28, 2014

USAID's Response to the
Crisis in Iraq

Numbers At A Glance

1.7 million

People Displaced by Violence in Iraq Since January 2014


Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Dohuk Governorate


IDPs in Al Anbar Governorate


IDPs in Erbil Governorate


IDPs in Kirkuk Governorate


IDPs in Baghdad


IDPs in As Sulaymaniyah Governorate

USG Assistance

USAID/OFDA $3,605,866
USAID/FFP $143,516
State/PRM $133,425,443
DoD $1,190,000
TOTAL $138,364,825

IOM releases new IDP estimates to better reflect the most recent wave of displacement from early August.

IDP influx strains response capacity of local authorities, particularly in southern Iraq.

Humanitarian actors continue to increase assistance and staffing for the Iraq response.

The vast majority of Iraqi IDPs who fled fighting between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), its allied militias, the Government of Iraq (GoI), and Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) security forces in northern Iraq since June remain concentrated in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR); however, increased IDP movements to central and southern Iraq are straining the response capacity of host governorates. Displacement figures continue to fluctuate as insecurity leads to secondary and tertiary displacements,particularly in Al Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa, and Salah ad-Din governorates.

During the past week, reports of sectarian violence—such as the attack on minority Sunnis at a village mosque in Diyala—led to expressions of concern about heightened tensions from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Iraq Nickolav Mladenov.

U.N. agencies and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) continue to increase staffing and assistance following the mid-August U.N. declaration of the Iraq crisis as a Level 3 (L3) emergency.

The USG continues to support emergency relief assistance to IDPs staying in accessible areas of northern Iraq, particularly in the IKR. USG-supported interventions include distribution of emergency food assistance and relief items, shelter support, hygiene awareness campaigns, and sanitation infrastructure improvements. A USAID Disaster Response Assistance Team (DART) remains in Iraq to help coordinate USG efforts to identify and address humanitarian needs.

In recent weeks, attacks by ISIL and armed groups have increased throughout Iraq—particularly against religious and ethnic minorities—and resulted in additional displacement and deteriorating security conditions. On August 22, armed militants opened fire on minority Sunnis in a village mosque near the city of Ba’qubah, Diyala Governorate, resulting in approximately 70 deaths, international media report.

In an August 23 report, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted increasing reports of human trafficking within and outside Iraq and of abduction of women, particularly those belonging to minority groups, by armed actors.

Since February, as part of ongoing protection monitoring activities, humanitarian actors have assessed more than 35,200 families or 188,000 people for assistance, OCHA reports. Of the total, more than 8,800 cases received legal assistance and nearly 5,800 cases received approval for cash assistance. Additionally, approximately 3,100 people with special or specific needs received referrals for other services and assistance.

As of August 24, IOM had identified approximately 1.7 million people displaced across Iraq since January 2014, including nearly 744,500 IDPs in the IKR. IOM’s IDP estimates have risen over recent weeks, with the latest figure representing an increase of more than 611,000 IDPs—or 58 percent—from IOM’s August 7 figures. To arrive at the new estimate, IOM reconciled its displacement tracking data with data gathered by a recent KRG IDP registration exercise in Dohuk Governorate. IOM notes that the number of IDPs reflects only those individuals identified in 1,577 locations; the organization acknowledges that many locations have not yet been covered and plans to continue IDP verification activities over the coming weeks. Estimates of displaced populations in Iraq continue to fluctuate, as the situation remains fluid and humanitarian actors continue to evaluate conditions.

Since early August, nearly 122,600 Iraqis—predominantly Yezidis—who fled ISIL-related violence in Ninewa Governorate’s Sinjar District have crossed into the IKR after transiting through Syria, according to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The agency also recorded the return of more than 4,700 Syrian refugees from the IKR to Syria since August 1.

On August 19, UNHCR announced plans for a major expansion in its humanitarian aid response in northern Iraq. To assist approximately 500,000 IDPs, UNHCR launched a 10-day operation to deliver emergency relief items to the IKR by air, road, and sea. Beginning on August 20, airlifts over a four-day period transported supplies from Aqaba, Jordan, to the city of Erbil in the IKR. Each flight delivered 100 metric tons (MT) of relief items, comprising 3,300 tents, 20,000 plastic sheets, 18,500 kitchen sets, and 16,500 water containers. UNHCR is also employing road convoys from Turkey and Jordan, as well as sea and land shipments from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Local officials from central and southern Iraq, including Al Basrah, An Najaf, Al Qadisiyah, Baghdad, and Karbala’ governorates, report a shortage of resources for new arrivals, as IDPs continue to flee violence, according to OCHA. Karbala’ Governorate—reportedly unable to support additional people—has begun diverting IDPs without local sponsors to other governorates. Relief organizations are responding to address the needs of newly arrived IDPs. In recent weeks, humanitarian assistance provided by NGOs and U.N. agencies have included four MT of high-energy biscuits, in An Najaf, Karbala’, and Wasit governorates; safe drinking water for nearly 7,000 people in An Najaf; and adult hygiene kits and water containers for an estimated 10,000 IDPs in Karbala’ Governorate.

On August 17, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani announced the allocation of an additional $10 million in funding to support displaced families in the IKR, supplementing a previously provided $15 million. In addition, on August 26, the GoI Council of Ministers decided to allocate an additional 500 billion Iraqi dinars, or $430 million, for shelter and relief item assistance to Iraqi IDPs. The GoI had previously committed 500 billion Iraqi dinars to provide cash grants of 1 million Iraqi dinars to each registered displaced family. To date, the KRG and the GoI have pledged more than 1 billion Iraqi dinars—or approximately $885 million—in support of humanitarian relief efforts.

OCHA reports that KRG officials and authorities from Dohuk and As Sulaymaniyah governorates stressed shelter and camps for IDPs as a primary concern at a meeting with U.N. agencies and other humanitarian actors on August 25. Nearly half of all schools in the IKR are hosting IDPs, and the KRG indicated that IDPs should be relocated to camps as soon as possible to make the schools available for the beginning of the new school year.

UNHCR reported that, as of August 19, at least 12 potential camp sites had been identified with the KRG. The camps are expected to host IDPs currently residing in schools, unfinished buildings, and open areas throughout the IKR. Three of the sites are in As Sulaymaniyah Governorate, three in Erbil Governorate, and the remainder in Dohuk Governorate. More than 21,000 IDPs are currently sheltering at two camps—Dohuk’s Bajid Kandala and Erbil’s Baharka. Furthermore, several privately-run camps have been established in Dohuk, and KRG officials continue to review possible sites for additional camps.

The Global Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster—the coordinating body for humanitarian shelter activities, comprising U.N. agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholders—has scaled up its humanitarian response following the U.N.’s mid-August declaration of the Iraq crisis as a Level 3 emergency. The cluster has deployed a national CCCM coordinator and mobilized additional support, including a sub-national CCCM coordinator for the IKR and an information management officer.

UNHCR has organized a series of CCCM trainings in the IKR’s As Sulaymaniyah, Dohuk, and Erbil governorates between August 10 and September 5. Government officials, refugee representatives, camp managers, and U.N. and NGO staff are participating in the trainings, which are designed to develop effective management and coordination mechanisms in IDP and refugee camps.

U.N. agencies and other humanitarian organizations continue to scale up shelter assistance in affected areas outside the IKR. With assistance from IOM, local authorities opened an IDP camp—expected to accommodate more than 500 families—in Al Basrah Governorate. In coordination with governorate officials, IOM and UNHCR are providing assistance for the camp, including cooking supplies, water coolers, and sanitation facilities. IOM is also supporting local authorities to provide emergency relief supplies and establish camp infrastructure at an IDP site in Maysan Governorate.

To date in FY 2014, USAID/OFDA has provided more than $1 million to an implementing partner for shelter-related activities, including the distribution of shelter upgrade materials to improve housing conditions for vulnerable IDPs in northern Iraq.

According to OCHA, many IDPs in the IKR’s Dohuk and Erbil governorates—particularly newly arrived IDPs and those still in transit—continue to require emergency food assistance. The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) and its partners are providing different types of food aid appropriate to the needs and mobility of various IDPs. WFP distributes food parcels to households that have access to cooking facilities; each parcel contains sufficient staples, such as rice and cooking oil, to feed a family of five for one month. For other populations, including individuals still in transit, WFP serves hot meals from field kitchens or provides IDPs with three-day emergency rations, such as canned food items, that can be easily carried.

WFP continues to expand activities to reach conflict-affected populations, including in areas outside northern Iraq. During the week of August 25, for instance, WFP completed its first food distribution in Karbala’ Governorate. Between mid-June and late August, WFP had reached more than 700,000 conflict-affected Iraqis with emergency food assistance. The new total reflects a significant increase from the approximately 385,500 people WFP reported having reached as of August 11.

For its emergency operation benefiting Iraqi IDPs, WFP continues to distribute the USAID meal replacement bars provided in early August. The bars contain a complete daily ration of calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates and are fortified with 24 vitamins and minerals.

Humanitarian actors have expressed concern that displaced populations sheltering in open areas, unfinished buildings, schools, and other temporary accommodations in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and An Najaf Governorate are in urgent need of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) assistance.

Following early August violence in Ninewa, WASH remains a priority concern as new arrivals strain already limited water resources for both host communities and IDPs. OCHA reports that Dohuk authorities requested safe drinking water and sanitation supplies for approximately 200,000 conflict-affected persons who sought refuge in Bajid Kandala transit camp and the towns of Khanikah, Sharya, and Zakho during the week of August 11.

The USG is working through various implementing partners to help address immediate WASH needs. USAID/OFDA is supporting a non-governmental organization (NGO) to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance for IDPs from Ninewa, as well as shelter support. The project aims to reduce public health and protection risks for IDPs through emergency WASH interventions, such as hygiene promotion campaigns and sanitation infrastructure improvements.

On August 20, the newly appointed U.N. Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for northern Iraq, Kevin Kennedy, arrived in Erbil. U.N. agencies and international NGOs continue to scale up operations to direct additional funding, resources, and personnel to response efforts following the mid-August designation of the Iraq crisis as an L3 emergency.

A team of U.N. agencies and NGOs recently assessed that IDPs in the IKR’s As Sulaymaniyah, Dohuk, and Erbil governorates have limited knowledge regarding how or where to access humanitarian assistance. To improve communication with beneficiaries, relief organizations are exploring various information-delivery channels, including face-to-face communication, mobile phones, print materials, and local media, according to IOM and OCHA.

On August 20, the NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq (NCCI) appealed to U.N. agencies and international donors to better facilitate NGO efforts to respond to the Iraq emergency. NCCI is advocating for increasingly flexible and streamlined funding mechanisms to expedite NGOs’ access to donor assistance—particularly the $500 million contributed by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—and the timely implementation of emergency relief activities for conflict-affected populations in Iraq.

The USG supports humanitarian coordination and information activities that benefit the entire humanitarian community. With USAID/OFDA support, an NGO is assessing and mapping displacement patterns in and near the IKR, providing infrastructure maps and other reference materials on IDP camps and collective sites, and tracking IDPs in host communities to facilitate the provision of assistance to the most vulnerable. USAID/OFDA is also supporting OCHA for humanitarian coordination activities across Iraq.

On August 27, the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) announced an additional £10 million, or approximately $16.5 million, in humanitarian assistance to Iraq. Nearly two-thirds of the new funds—£6.5 million—will support NGOs to continue shelter, food, WASH, and psychosocial support activities. As part of the aid package, DFID is also delivering emergency relief commodities, such as tents, reusable water containers, and solar lanterns, to the city of Erbil for onward distribution to IDPs. To date, the U.K. has conducted eight flights, transporting 62 MT of food, more than 1,500 tents, some 8,500 kitchen sets, and approximately 840 water filtration sets. In total, the U.K. is providing approximately £23 million, or $38 million, for the Iraq response.

On August 21, the Government of Austria announced plans to deliver sufficient medical supplies to the IKR to serve approximately 100,000 people for three months. Austrian officials had previously offered €1 million, or $1.3 million, in emergency humanitarian funding for the response in northern Iraq. 5

The $500 million contribution provided by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in July continues to benefit Iraqi IDPs. On August 18, WHO reported that its $50 million allocation is enabling the agency to scale up its response to a range of health care needs among Iraqi IDPs and host communities. In addition, WFP has used its nearly $150 million allocation from the KSA to provide emergency food assistance to IDPs in northern Iraq, while IOM aims to provide relief supplies and shelter assistance to more than 480,000 IDPs with its $50 million in KSA funding. Other allocations from the KSA contribution include $100 million to UNICEF and $90 million to UNHCR; the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) also received funding.

Related Sectors of Work 

Last updated: June 03, 2016

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