Iraq: Humanitarian Bulletin, January/February/March 2019 | Issued on 26 March 2019 [EN/AR/KU]
• HNO and HRP Published
• Tent replacement underway in Ninewa
• EU Commissioner visits school, hospital and water treatment plant in Mosul
• Update on the implementation of humanitarian activities and the Iraq Humanitarian Fund.
HNO and HRP Published
The 2019 Humanitarian Needs Overview and Humanitarian Response Plan for Iraq have been published. The 2019 HNO found that an estimated 6.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including approximately 1.8 million internally displaced persons.
Multiple pressing protection concerns have been identified, including retaliation against people with perceived affiliations to extremist groups; ethno-sectarian violence; forced, premature and obstructed returns; a lack of civil documentation; IDPs and returnees who require specialized psychosocial support; high UXO contamination of land (including private houses); and housing, land and property issues. Challenges to securing livelihood opportunities are among the top needs cited by both people in displacement and people who have returned to their areas of origin.
The 2019 HRP will seek $701 million to meet the needs of 1.75 million people and carry out operations falling under three Strategic Objectives:
(1) post-conflict transition towards durable solutions;
(2) ensuring the centrality of protection; and (3) strengthening contingency planning and preparedness
Heavy Rainfall Causes Flooding and Damage
Heavy seasonal rainfalls in February and March caused a series of floods which caused severe damage to infrastructure throughout northern Iraq.
In early February, intense storms in Salah alDin governorate caused the Tigris River to rise above its banks and wash out the floating bridges in and around the town of Shirqat, isolating people on either side of the river with no alternative ways to cross.
Humanitarian partners on the ground reported a rise in the prices of food and fuel as deliveries were severely delayed while alternative routes were found. In addition, access to the local hospital was cut off, necessitating patients to travel to health centres in Hawiga and Kirkuk, over an hour away. The bridges underwent temporary repairs, but a longer-term solution is needed.
Similarly, in mid- and late March, heavy rainfall in and around Mosul led to the closure of five major bridges in Ninewa governorate, giving rise to concerns about delays in delivery of aid from Mosul to IDP camps in Ninewa:
• Alnasr Bridge (pontoon connecting East and West Mosul)
• Alhurriyya Bridge (pontoon connecting East and West Mosul)
• Qanatir Bridge (at Al-Khawsar river)
• Suwais Bridge (at Al-Khawsar river)
• Qayyarah Bridge (pontoon connecting Makhmour Road to Qayyarah Sub District)
The pontoon bridges were able to re-open once water levels receded.
It is thought that the swollen water levels also contributed to the sinking of a ferry in the Tigris near Mosul on 21 March as families celebrated the Nowruz springtime holiday, which killed approximately 100 people. Civil defence forces responded to this disaster.
The Secretary-General and SRSG expressed their regrets and offered the UN’s support to national recovery efforts as needed.
Strengthening contingency planning and preparedness, including for national disasters, is one of the Strategic Objectives of the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan.