UNICEF Iraq Monthly Humanitarian Situation Report, 1 - 31 October 2015

Report
from UN Children's Fund
Published on 31 Oct 2015

Highlights

  • As of 22 October 2015, 3,202,638 people (533,773 families) were displaced across Iraq. 415,632 individuals are reported as returned to their place of origin (IOM).

  • Cases of cholera continue to be reported in Iraq, mainly in the central and southern zones. UNICEF is concerned that 1 in 5 cases are children under 10 years old.

  • Responding to cholera, UNICEF provided 820,000 sachets of oral rehydration salt (ORS) supplies for rapid treatment of dehydration, conducted health promotion activities and case-management training for health staff.

  • Following heavy rains over the night of 28 October, flooding critically affected 44 camps and informal settlements in Baghdad, Anbar, Salah al-Din and Diyala, impacting over 84,000 people.

  • In October, UNICEF partners reached out to 1,598 children with child protection services. Out of these, 1,445 children received psychosocial support services.

  • The UNICEF “WARM for WINTER” campaign was launched on 24 October 2015; over 10,000 IDP children and 300 pregnant women were provided winter clothes and blankets to protect them from Iraq’s harsh winter climate.

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Need

On 15 September 2015, the Government of Iraq (GoI) confirmed a new outbreak of cholera in the central zone. As of 29 October 2015, over 2,000 confirmed cases were reported across 15 Governorates. UNICEF is concerned that 21 percent, or 1 in 5 cases, are children 0 to 10 years old, a sign that this group is among the most vulnerable. Iraq’s last major outbreak occurred in the north in 2012. Recent armed conflict has destroyed water and sanitation infrastructure, which in combination with a low water table due to several years of drought, has increased likelihood of water contamination. UNICEF, leading the WASH cluster, and the World Health Organisation (WHO), leading the Health cluster, are coordinating closely with the Ministry of Health (MoH) at Baghdad and Erbil levels to treat cases, and prevent cholera spread. UNICEF response, in line with the Joint Cholera Preparedness and Response Plan agreed with WHO and the MoH, focuses on community-level awareness raising, sharing prevention messages via public radio channels, on SMS messaging, on distribution of door-to-door leaflets, and information sharing, as well as supporting prevention of cholera transmission through provision of hygiene kits and supply of safe water. With the Ashura festival on 23 October attracting millions of pilgrims, public information activities were critical to raise awareness of causes of disease transmission and ways to prevent further spread.

An estimated 8.2 million people across Iraq remain in need of humanitarian assistance, including Internally Displaced People (IDP), Syrian refugees, returnees and host communities, as well as affected populations in Armed Opposition Group (AOG) held areas. As of 22 October 2015, 3,202,638 people (533,773 families) were displaced across Iraq1. Numbers of people reported as returned to their place of origin (‘returnees’) are 415,632 individuals2. According to the Camp Coordination and Management Cluster, 49 official IDP camps are active across Iraq and a further 10 are currently under construction, in addition to 38 collective centers3 and numerous informal settlements. Humanitarian access remains hampered by ongoing fighting, leaving some of the most vulnerable Iraqis trapped without humanitarian assistance in ISIL-controlled areas. Return to places of origin continues in areas where change in security conditions allows. Areas of return are severely lacking in basic services or infrastructure as a result of violent conflict. After demonstrations in the central and southern governorates during the summer months, similar events increased in the Kurdistan Region (KR-I) in October. Demonstrators are calling for improved public services, among other issues. Across Iraq an ongoing challenge remains the lack of liquidity in various banks, which has created further issues for public sector staff in accessing salaries.