Iraq: Food Assistance Fact Sheet - Updated September 30, 2019
Following the Government of Iraq’s conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), prolonged displacement, disrupted livelihoods, and obstacles to social reintegration continue to drive food security among vulnerable Iraqis and Syrian refugees.
• While the Iraqi Security Forces have recaptured territory held by ISIS fighters, vulnerable conflict-affected families continue to face protracted displacement and persistent lack of basic needs. According to the UN, approximately 6.7 million people require humanitarian assistance in Iraq, including approximately 2.5 million food-insecure Iraqis.
• As of August, more than 228,000 Syrian refugees had sought shelter in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR), predominantly in Erbil, Dohuk, and Sulaimaniya governorates, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports. As conflict increases in northeast Syria, this figure is expected to rise.
• The Government of Iraq (GoI) distributes imported cereals to vulnerable households through the Public Distribution System (PDS), a social safety net program. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that Iraq imported approximately 5.2 million metric tons of flour, wheat, and rice between July 2018 and June 2019 to meet its domestic needs. While this system is not currently sufficient to meet the food needs of the Iraqi population, it is key to maintaining and improving the food security of vulnerable Iraqis.
• Since Fiscal Year 2014, FFP has provided more than $232 million in emergency food assistance to food-insecure Iraqi households, including food vouchers, cash transfers for food, and regional procurement of food baskets, as part of the WFP response to emergency food needs in Iraq. With FFP support, WFP reaches approximately 259,000 Iraqi IDPs in need of food assistance per month. FFP’s funding for the Syria regional response also enables WFP to feed approximately 32,000 food-insecure Syrian refugees sheltering in Iraq.
• With FFP funding, WFP is piloting an e-distribution platform as part of a PDS modernization program, including assisting with the biometric registration of approximately 35,000 food-insecure Iraqis for PDS assistance, thereby enabling displaced persons to more easily update their location information and collect rations in areas where they are currently sheltering.
• FFP and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance are jointly funding an international non-governmental organization to provide 48,500 vulnerable people in Iraq’s Anbar, Ninewa, and Salah al Din governorates with multi-purpose cash assistance to cover food and non-food needs.