The Humanitarian Coordinator highlights key humanitarian response priorities.
Reaching displaced families on flood-affected Sinjar Mountain.
Imminent evictions of 3,000 families from Tikrit’s informal settlements prompt new relocations.
Update on the implementation of humanitarian activities and the Iraq Humanitarian Fund.
Interview with Ms. Marta Ruedas, Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq
You have been in Iraq for only a few weeks, nevertheless how would you assess the humanitarian situation?
The humanitarian situation has noticeably improved since 2017, but there are still significant humanitarian needs that require our attention. Even though 3.8 million people have returned to their homes since the start of the crisis, more than 2 million Iraqis remain displaced as of May 2018.
Some needs that require specific attention are protection issues, especially related to the presence of armed actors in camps across Iraq. It is very concerning that humanitarian partners continue to record protection incidents in camps, including sexual harassment of women and girls, shooting incidents, and restrictions on freedom of movement. Whilst mechanisms are in place for victims to report these incidents, we must continue to work with all partners to ensure the civilian and humanitarian character of camps is preserved.
All these developments are taking place as the funding focus is somehow shifting away from the humanitarian assistance to stabilization and recovery phase. We received only 28 per cent of funding for the current Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and the funding shortfall is already limiting programmed response activities.
What do you believe should be key priorities for the humanitarian response going forward?
The shift in focus has, to some extent, distracted the support needed for the HRP. Yet, it is true that unless we address the root causes for continued displacement, we will not be able to reduce the number of displaced.
It is equally important to continue with the implementation of the 2018 HRP. We will also need to look at some other critical issues, such as rebuilding of houses as well as security concerns and explosive hazard contamination, which are not necessarily in the HRP, but are essential preconditions for displaced families to be able to return home.
One of the priorities is to find durable solutions for displacement and to ensure the returns of displaced Iraqis are voluntary, safe and dignified. The Governorate Returns Committees, comprised of Governorate authorities, UN and NGO representatives, have been put in place in several governorates and by working through these structures we need to ensure the returns process is implemented in line with humanitarian principles.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.