Iraq: Humanitarian Access Snapshot (March 2020)

Originally published
View original


Humanitarian organizations faced significant access challenges during the month, as a result of administrative difficulties, compounded by COVID-19 containment measures implemented by the government. Humanitarian partners reported 80 access incidents across 39 districts, with approximately 39 per cent taking place in the governorate of Ninewa, 24 per cent in Anbar, 11 per cent in Kirkuk, and 10 per cent in Salah Al-Din Governorate.

Most non-government (NGO) implementing partners of the UN were unable to receive national-level access authorization letters for the movement of staff or supplies, which restricted their ability to respond to the health emergency in Iraq. OCHA and NCCI have been working with the national government to establish a new procedure for implementing partners to request and receive national access letters. Through this process, in March, 51 requests for national access letters were submitted on behalf of 31 NGOs. However, as of the end of the month, application requests for 27 NGOs were still in various stages of the NOC approval process, and only four NGOs had been granted national access letters.

The country-wide curfew and government restrictions on movements implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also had a significant impact on humanitarian activity, including programming related to COVID-19 prevention, preparedness and response. Although humanitarian organizations were able to obtain curfew exemptions in most governorates, the prohibition on inter-governorate movement, including for the movement of medical supplies, significantly impeded response. Approximately 55 per cent of reported incidents were indicated to have affected humanitarian activities related to response or prevention of the spread of COVID-19.

To improve the accuracy of the representation of access challenges in Iraq, humanitarian organizations are encouraged to report all incident details to OCHA sub-offices.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit