Iraq

Iraq: Humanitarian Bulletin, March 2020

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HIGHLIGHTS

• Iraq responds to the COVID-19 pandemic

• Global Humanitarian Response Plan launched

• Humanitarian access during COVID-19 curfews

• Mission to Anbar

• Flooding in Mosul

COVID-19 IN IRAQ

During March 2020, Iraqi authorities and humanitarian partners worked together to minimize the impact of COVID-19 across the country. Confirmed cases in March increased from 13 at the beginning of the month to 695 (with 50 fatalities) at month’s end. On 2 March, the World Health Organization (WHO) briefed the Humanitarian Country Team on the novel coronavirus, outlining Iraq’s preparedness and identifying gaps that would need to be addressed. The Humanitarian Operational Cell, chaired by the Humanitarian Coordinator, continued to meet weekly during March to coordinate United Nations’ prevention and response initiatives, share information about funding and manage duty of care issues for staff.

During the reporting period, the Government of Iraq (GOI) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) expanded nationwide closures and imposed strict movement curfews to try and halt further spread of the virus. Domestic travel was curtailed by road and air, and on 17 March, all airports in Iraq suspended operations for incoming and outgoing flights for a one-week period which has been continuously extended. Prior to the airports closing, there were evolving prohibitions in both Baghdad and Erbil on the entry of citizens of certain nationalities, or with recent travel history in certain countries in Europe and Asia. For all other travelers, there was a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival. Most businesses and government offices remained closed, as did places of worship, schools and universities.
Preventative measures—as mandated by governmental and WHO guidelines—were put in place at IDP camps throughout Iraq, including temperature screening at camp entrances, a ban on large gatherings of people, and the distribution of "key messages" on the means to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and general hygiene measures in English, Arabic and Kurdish.

Humanitarian clusters in Iraq developed initial consolidated guidance for COVID-19 preparedness and response planning for camps in Iraq, led by the CCCM Cluster with inputs from Health, WASH, Protection, Child-Protection, GBV, Shelter/NFI and the Communication with Communities/Accountability to Affected Populations actors, which will be updated regularly and has been distributed to all partners.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.