Core elements of the 2014/15 Humanitarian Strategic Response Plan (SRP)
The SRP prioritizes critical life-saving and core emergency humanitarian programmes. These are defined as those actions that within a short time span remedy, mitigate or avert direct loss of life, physical harm or threats to a population or major portion thereof and common humanitarian services that are necessary to enable life-saving activities. Other activities aimed at rebuilding Iraq’s social fabric and easing tensions between communities have also been identified in the SRP in order to reduce human suffering and address the drivers of the conflict.
The Government has taken the lead in providing some assistance, including the allocation of substantial funds to people affected by the crisis. Details on the use of these funds remain unclear, however, and important measures by the Government must still be taken. These include resuming basic social services such as the PDS to all governorates and for all those in need, dispatching essential drugs and medical supplies from the central pharmacy depot to all governorates, paying the salaries of all civil servants, and providing subsidized items for agricultural production.
The resumption of these government measures would have a significant, positive impact on humanitarian programming and SRP funding requirements. If, as this response plan has factored, they are not resumed in all locations or with some delay, the UN and partners will be obliged to fill in the social service gaps for the most vulnerable Iraqis to save lives and reduce suffering.
An immediate priority of this response plan is to assist the 1.26 million IDPs who are unprepared for harsh winter temperatures across Iraq. In the Kurdistan region where temperatures normally drop below zero, humanitarian partners are focused on providing temporary shelter solutions for 390,000 of the most vulnerable IDPs who are living in schools, unfinished buildings or in the open in the governorates of Dohuk,
Erbil and Sulaymaniyah by mid-November 2014. Partners continue to provide weather-proof shelter and winter kits, including thermal blankets, mattresses, stoves, clothing and shoes in partnership with the government, local charities, and the private sector. Insufficient funding and capacity on the ground have delayed winter preparations as the needs and displacements have outpaced the response. The provision of additional government assistance, including the release of funds from central to local levels and a swift decision on fuel subsidies for all IDPs and refugees in the country would enable humanitarian partners to better target their relief assistance to only those most in need.
Beyond the need to ensure that displaced and vulnerable Iraqis survive the winter, IDPs will be registered and those identified as the most vulnerable provided with improved access to basic services, including water and sanitation, health, nutrition, education and food. Relocation of IDPs currently hosted in schools will be supported as a matter of urgency in order for the now delayed academic year to commence. Special attention will be given to the large number of IDPs residing with host families or in rented accommodation in an effort to minimize the impact on host communities, reduce inter-communal tensions and lessen the risk of evictions and further displacements. Targeted host families will also benefit from activities that ensure equitable access to basic services nationwide. While the response plan involves the establishment of 26 additional camps in the Kurdistan region and another 10 camps across the center and south of the country to accommodate IDPs living in substandard conditions, further camps will only be built as a last resort given the priority to find more durable shelter solutions, including safe and dignified returns.
International and local partners continue strengthening collaboration in an effort to widen the areas of operation and reach the largest possible number of vulnerable people, including the 2.2 million people in need residing in areas controlled by ISIL and affiliated armed groups. A combination of direct implementation, discreet oversight and remote management will continue to be adopted whenever feasible. Humanitarian partners will also enhance collaboration with the private and other non-traditional sectors to boost the response.
The ultimate protection objective in Iraq is for those displaced to return to their homes in safety and dignity.
Returns are expected to be minimal and opportunistic in the medium term, however, unless there is a significant change in the security environment. Spontaneous small-scale returns will be supported where access and security conditions allow, including through the provision of return packages and limited shelter repairs. Partners, through the protection cluster, will develop a strategy for supporting those wishing to return to their communities.
Contingencies are in place to quickly respond to additional humanitarian needs and new waves of displacement, which are likely to materialize given ongoing military operations, violence and insecurity in parts of the country. Limited emergency stocks for this purpose which are already positioned will be replenished.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.