THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE
Following the total lockdown of the country in mid-March 2020 (closure of airports, imposition of curfews, prohibition of inter-governorate and inter-regional travel), the humanitarian community in Iraq had to quickly move to recalibrate to the new operating context. While humanitarians were nominally excluded from movement restrictions, in practice, they faced ever-increasing access constraints throughout April as various governorate-level authorities interpreted directives in different ways. In approximately 77 per cent of districts, both UN agencies and NGOs reported that their activities had been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 containment measures. OCHA engaged in constant advocacy with government counterparts to enable fast-track clearance for partners where possible.
Clusters have identified activities throughout the country that were interrupted due to the COVID-19 lockdown, including difficulties in delivering essential services in IDP camps; increased food insecurity; disruptions to critical shelter upgrades; interrupted psychosocial service for children and suspension of mine awareness activities. In parallel, the Iraq Information Centre—a call centre that provides information on humanitarian assistance in Iraq to IDPs, returnees, asylum seekers, refugees, and vulnerable host community members—surveyed beneficiaries on the challenges related to the virus. Ninety-two per cent of respondents said that COVID-19 had impacted their basic needs; 70 per cent reported loss of livelihoods; 11 per cent report loss of freedom of movement; and five per cent reported an increase in gender-based violence, including domestic violence.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.