ACT Alliance Call for Action: Iraq (18 December 2019)
The humanitarian crisis in Iraq remains one of the largest and most volatile in the world. The pace of displacement over the past four and a half years is nearly without precedent with more than 5.4 million people displaced since the rise of the Islamic State (IS). The 2019 Iraq Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) states 6.7 million people continue to be in need, and although 4.3 million people have returned to their place of origin, 1.7 million people remain internally displaced. At present 721,000 IDP’s and 241, 000 Syrian refugees reside within the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), many of whom have remained in prolonged displacement since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011. In federal Iraq, Ninawa governate remains the most effected by the continued influx caused by the rise of the IS. Critical high explosive contamination, severe infrastructure damage, psychological trauma among local populations and significant loss of livelihood opportunities continue to compound the traumatic effects of 8 years of brutal fighting. Population movements continue to be fluid and multi directional.
While hundreds of thousands of people have fled and continue to flee violence, returns have also been accelerating across the country. Almost 2.1 million civilians have returned to their communities in the past two years with more IDP’s planned to be returned in the near future.
This repatriation of refugees and IDP’s remains one of the country’s greatest challenges going forward. In particular, those returning to Ninawa and Mosul remain highly vulnerable due to lack of livelihood opportunities, unexploded ordnance, lack of basic infrastructure and physiological trauma.
As identified in the HNO and HRP, large programmatic gaps still remain across both Livelihoods and Protection sectors. Furthermore, serious gaps in food and nutrition continue to remain a priority as only 10% of the related food security needs for 2019 are covered by the HRP and non HRP partners. On top of these key needs, widespread poverty in the host community puts further pressure on the population often leading to reliance on negative coping strategies such as early childhood marriage and child labour. A total of 60% of people in need have insufficient income to meet their basic requirements, 34% are accumulating debt to purchase essential items and nearly 2.4 million people remain vulnerable to food insecurity. Difficulties in accessing employment limits the possibility for IDPs to obtain shelter, food and essential non-food items leaving IDP’s particularly insecure to the extreme weather that Iraq experiences annually, negative coping strategies including child labour, survival sex and poverty. This further highlights the need for interventions that support livelihoods and provide income generating opportunities. Furthermore, The Republic of Iraq is heavily contaminated with an extensive number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), landmines, cluster munitions and other unexploded ordnance. The recent fighting with IS combined with previous munitions deployed during conflicts dating back as far as the 1980’s has left many in Northern Iraq at risk to triggering these devices which remain in the ground and very unstable. This contamination inhibits access to resources, prevents the safe return of IDPs and limits displaced people’s ability to rebuild their lives. Sectors:
- Mine Action
- Shelter/ NFI
The dire situation is further compounded for the 4.10 million affected people with vulnerabilities, out of them 38, 553 that this Appeal will target . There is a pressing necessity to provide immediate assistance to minimize loss of life and to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are covered first.