Needs Assessment: Integrating MHPSS and Livelihood Support in Iraq - Anbar and Basra Governorates – December 2020

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Integrated MHPSS and livelihood support programming considers the physical and emotional needs of persons affected by humanitarian crises, providing a more inclusive approach to response programming and holistically considering the physical, material and emotional needs of an affected population.

The heightened demand for MHPSS and livelihood support makes integrated programming timely and relevant in Iraq, especially as these needs have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This assessment was conducted to inform the integration of MHPSS and livelihood support in Anbar. Anbar is Iraq’s largest and most sporadically populated governorate, located in the south. Anbar has a strong tribal structure and is the least diverse governorate in Iraq. The estimated total population in Anbar is 1.7 million people (2019), excluding Syrian refugees and Iraqi IDPs. Anbar has the highest poverty rate in Iraq and has experienced continuous and severe displacement waves for many years. In 2014, ISIL advanced into Anbar, quickly displacing over 1.2 million people. The conflict demolished much of the governorate’s infrastructure and crippled labour markets. In early 2019, Oxfam reported scarce livelihood opportunities, noting that obtaining work is especially difficult for IDPs and returnees. Access to the affected population remains challenging, and needs continue to be severe. A general lack of livelihood opportunities remains, while basic services, social cohesion and security are also limited.

DISPLACEMENT Anbar currently hosts over 36,000 IDPs, with the central districts of displacement being Falluja, Ramadi and Al-Rutba. The primary governorates of origin are Anbar (72%) and Babylon (26%), and others (2%), including Salah al Din and Baghdad.
Most displacement families live with host families (43%) or in camps (27%).


IOM has designated Anbar as a main governorate of return.
More than 1.4. million people have returned to Anbar, mainly to districts in Ramadi, Falluja and Heet. Most returnees were displaced within Anbar (43%) or fled to Baghdad (21%), Erbil (16%) and other locations, including Kirkuk, Sulaymaniyah,
Babylon, Salah al Din, Kerbala, Ninewa and Diyala (20%).
Nearly all IDPs and returnees in Anbar are Arab Sunni.

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