Joint Rapid Assessments of Markets: West Mosul, August 2017

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After being held by the group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) since 2014, the city of Mosul in northern Iraq was declared under the control of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in July 2017. Beginning in October 2016, the offensive to re-establish Iraqi government control over the city was accompanied by severe damage and mass displacement. Control of the east section of the city changed by January 2017, but the west – due to its narrow streets and dense population – took much longer to change control and suffered more severe damage. Prior to the offensive,
Mosul had been completely inaccessible to humanitarian actors for three years.

In order to provide comprehensive market information to inform humanitarian programming following the cessation of fighting and the return of many displaced persons to west Mosul, the Cash Working Group – Iraq (CWG) initiated a Joint Rapid Assessment of Markets (JRAM) in west Mosul. Specifically, the JRAM aims to determine the impact of a protracted crisis on a market in terms of infrastructure, security and the supply chain; to gather information on the price and availability of goods; and to gauge the ability of traders to cope with a hypothetical surge in demand to help determine the feasibility of cash and market-based programming within the assessed market.

West Mosul was selected for assessment by the CWG due to there being acute humanitarian need and presence of newly recovering markets. Given the complete lack of humanitarian access since 2014, little was known about market health in the city. An initial assessment conducted by the World Food Programme (WFP) in June found that the supply chains and food stocks that traders depended on in west Mosul were insufficient to support a sudden increase in demand. The JRAM was launched in the same area as a means to reassess the situation and determine if markets had recovered, as partners with cash and market-based programmes were eager to begin delivering aid to conflictaffected populations within west Mosul. The JRAM only assessed the parts of west Mosul that had seen some levels of return, and had experienced some level of market recovery. The coverage was determined based on information gathered during several scoping exercises conducted by data-collection partners in the week prior to the assessment.

The assessment employed a qualitative research method adapted from the Rapid Assessment of Markets (RAM) developed by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and relied on a Kobo-based mobile data collection tool customised to each of the three respondent groups – retailers, wholesalers and consumers. 5 Data collection was carried out by members of the CWG, with REACH carrying out data cleaning and analysis. Between 25 July and 6 August, 11 participating partners conducted key informant (KI) interviews with 160 retailer KIs located in nine distinct market places and 65 consumer KIs located across 20 neighbourhoods in west Mosul.In addition, enumerators interviewed 58 wholesaler KIs, who were either located inside one or more of the nine assessed market places, or who traded with retailers located inside those market places.

Due to the inherent limitations of qualitative research methods, the findings within this report should be considered indicative only. Many of the figures and percentages reported are based on estimates by respondents. Findings are only relevant to the assessed market and should not be generalised to other parts of Mosul city or elsewhere in northern Iraq.

Presented below, the main findings are structured around three research questions: what impact the crisis has had on the assessed market; what is the availability and price of goods; and, what is the response capacity of traders (i.e. retailers and wholesalers).