Iraq + 3 more

DFID Iraq Update No. 1

Situation Report
Originally published


  • Population movements in northern Iraq of an unconfirmed 300-450,000 people. Mainly being absorbed into local communities. Local authorities and the UN / Red Cross are assessing the needs of those not staying with relatives.

  • Few refugees have been confirmed at Iraq's borders, but preparations continue apace for camps. Small numbers of foreign nationals continue to be transported home by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) through Jordan and Syria.

  • Water supplies to Basra were cut off for around 24 hours over the weekend but have been partially restored by Red Cross / Crescent teams.

  • Civil Affairs teams from coalition forces are carrying out humanitarian needs assessments in southern Iraq.

  • DFID has deployed five humanitarian and civil/military advisers to Kuwait, one adviser to Tehran and one to Amman. A liaison officer will be based at the UN Humanitarian Information Centre in Cyprus from today.

  • The Red Cross / Red Crescent Movement released Iraq appeals on 20 March totalling $159m. A UN Inter-Agency appeal is expected within days.

  • Clare Short visited New York and Washington on 19 and 20 March to drive forward the humanitarian and reconstruction effort in Iraq. She underlined the importance of a swift Security Council agreement on allowing the UN Secretary General to take over authority for the Oil for Food programme. She also had discussions on reconstruction, saying: "We are determined to deliver on our commitment to a UN mandate for the reconstruction of Iraq, as without it Iraq's longer term prospects will be bleak".


DFID has committed £20 million to support preparations by humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organisations, including £8m for the World Food Programme. DFID has set aside a further £70m for the immediate humanitarian response and is considering further assistance in line with emerging needs. DFID also provides 19% of European Commission (EC) funding for Iraq. On 21 March the EC increased its total commitment to the immediate response to 100 million euros.


  • DFID has procured emergency health kits sufficient for 300,000 people for 3 months.

  • UNICEF, the Red Cross and NGOs are working together to respond to any water and sanitation system disruption. UNICEF has 20 mobile water purification units, 110 water bladders and 10 water tanks in stock

  • The Red Cross is monitoring Baghdad's water supply and power, which have been partially affected by military action. The Red Cross has prepared equipment for emergency water distribution if necessary.

  • UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq, Ramiro Lopes da Silva, has established a temporary HQ in Cyprus. DFID officials will visit this week

  • The UN Office for Co-ordinating Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has deployed staff in neighbouring countries. They are recruiting 70 new staff.

  • Kuwaiti Humanitarian Operations Centre started running daily briefings from 18 March. These are available at

  • First donor / NGO liaison meeting held on 21 March in Kuwait. This will become a regular forum.

  • UN Humanitarian Air Services flights from Larnaca to countries neighbouring Iraq will begin this week.

  • The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Jordanian Government have signed agreements to establish refugee camps in Jordan. There are stocks and capacity for up to 10,000 refugees.

  • UNHCR has pre-positioned stocks of tents, sheets, blankets and other supplies for 260,000 people on the Iranian border.

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) now have sufficient stocks in Iran to feed 100,000 refugees for 2 months. They have delivered high energy biscuits to Kuwait sufficient for 53,000. A Kuwaiti company has agreed to supply WFP with bread for one month's supply to two million people. There are 100,000 tonnes of wheat en route.

Partner Current activities DFID allocation
Red Cross / Red Crescent Pre-positioning food and other supplies
World Food Programme Pre-positioning food for 250,000 people for 10 weeks
UNICEF Pre-positioning health kits, water purification units and other supplies
UNHCR Supplying winter kits for 350,000, and procuring kits for a further 600,000
WHO Emergency health kits for 24,000 pre-positioned. In process of positioning kits for further 76,000
Proposals currently being assessed


DFID's humanitarian strategy is based on our humanitarian principles, which include seeking the best possible assessment of needs and giving priority to the most urgent cases of distress. It aims to:

  • Save lives and relieve suffering of the Iraqi people

  • Respond to the immediate humanitarian needs within Iraq and in neighbouring countries

  • Protect and restore livelihoods

  • Support a rapid transition from relief to recovery to reconstruction

We will focus on:
  • Ensuring co-ordination of the international humanitarian effort

  • Working with the UN to maintain the Oil for Food programme

  • Providing humanitarian assistance through our traditional humanitarian partners - the UN, Red Cross and NGOs

  • Providing advice to the UK military's humanitarian relief effort