UNICEF Iraq Monthly Humanitarian Situation Report, December 2018

Situation Report
Originally published



• Between January and December 2018, UNICEF and its partners ensured 384,190 individuals (180,569 children) had continued access to sanitation in 2018. UNICEF-supported partners contributed 79 per cent of the WASH Cluster sanitation response.

• In 2018, UNICEF rehabilitated 786 schools, installed 640 new prefab classrooms in 222 schools, and delivered educational supplies for 339,312 IDP children (148,006 girls).

• In the year, 190,207 children (90,080 girls) accessed structured psychosocial support services through community structures and outreach teams through UNICEF-supported partners. Community-based centres and mobile teams were used as an entry point for identification of children with specific protection needs.

• More than 1.2 million children were vaccinated against polio in the year through emergency campaigns. UNICEF supported social mobilization activities for one Nationwide Immunization Day in 14 governorates, one Sub-National Immunization Day and three emergency campaigns in areas of concern in Anbar (Qa’im, Ana, Rawa), Kirkuk (Hawiga), Ninewa (Ba’aj, Hathar, Tel Afar, Sinjar), and Salah al Din.

December 2018 4 million children in need out of 8.7 million people affected (OCHA, HRP 2018)

1.8 million internally displaced people (IDP)

4.16 million people returned to newly accessible areas (IOM, Displacement Tracking Matrix, January 2014 to 31 December 2018

Target population in 2018
Rapid Response: 1,030,000 IDPs
WASH: 1.3 million people
Education: 450,000 children
Health: 1.2 million children (polio) Child Protection: 186,300 children and caregivers

UNICEF Appeal 2018
US$ 101.2 million
Funding Status+
US$ 100.4 million

Situation Overview

In 2018 the main trend in Iraq has been one of return to places of origin and decrease in armed violence. As of January, there were 3.34 million individuals (1.5 million children) recorded as returned to places of origin, compared to 4.1 million (1.9 million children) as of December 2018, for a net increase of more than 650,000 people in the year. The main movements took place up to September 2018, however figures remaining relatively static in the final quarter. Despite overall decrease in internal movements, smaller-scale secondary displacements and new arrivals to IDP camps continued throughout the year. As of 31 November, 17,762 newly-arrived IDP families (approximately 106,572 individuals, including 55,000 children) were recorded entering IDP camps in Ninewa, with around 52 percent of these arrivals reported to be secondary displacement. The major reason for return to camps continued to be financial or economic hardships accompanied by limited or no access to adequate shelter due to damaged houses in areas of origin.

As of 15 December, over 1.86 million Iraqis, including over 900,000 children, remained internally displaced. More than half, 54 percent, have been displaced for more than three years. Families from Kirkuk and Salah al Din are most likely to return home within the next year, while those from Sinjar in Ninewa are least willing to do so. As per 2019 HNO projections, it is anticipated that the remaining IDP population is likely to stay in protracted displacement over 2019. Around 30 per cent of families are displaced in camps and 70 per cent remain in out-of-camp settings, with nearly eight per cent of those living in critical shelter arrangements. Of those in camps, 80 per cent remain in Ninewa (52 per cent) and Dahuk (27 per cent). Key issues hindering returns include problems with housing, earning a living, accessing basic services, social cohesion, security, and mental health issues. Of these, destruction of houses in areas of origin is the most prevalent self-reported reason for continued displacement. According to respondents to the Integrated Location Assessment, livelihood opportunities was among the top three concerns in locations where 93 per cent of IDPs are currently hosted compared to 63 per cent in the previous assessment in May 2017.

Returnee populations also face challenges – more than 130,300 individuals (3 per cent) are in critical shelters, which increases their vulnerability to illness over the winter season, and many have returned to areas that were sites of armed violence, and where presence of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) remain high. In the coming 12 months, 64 per cent of IDPs indicated intention to stay in displacement, 11 per cent plan to return, one per cent want to leave the country or resettle elsewhere within Iraq, and 24 percent are undecided.

A health concern for children in 2018 were pockets of measles outbreaks. In August the federal Ministry of Health (MoH) declared an outbreak and requested support from UNICEF and the World Health Organisation for an emergency measles vaccination campaign targeting five million children aged 9 to 59 months across the country. In further concerns, during the year, water scarcity in southern Iraq was highlighted as a challenge. It was estimated 25 per cent (around 1.8 million people) of the population in 17 districts of the four most-affected governorates were critically impacted by water shortages, as well as an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness which affected more than 100,000,000 people. In November, reduction in Acute Watery Diarrhoea incidence continued in Basrah and total cases returned to below World Health Organisation (WHO) thresholds. Water scarcity-related displacements were also recorded, of 3,500 families (over 21,000 individuals including 10,000 children). Following heavy rains between 22 November and 9 December, floods caused widespread destruction. Several deaths and injuries were reported, while tens of thousands of people were displaced from homes. Ninewa, Salah al Din and Thi Qar were the most heavily-affected governorates, while damages were also reported in the southern Basrah, Diyala, Missan, Muthanna, and Wassit governorates. Statistics from the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster revealed floods affected around 18 IDP camps across Iraq, damaging infrastructure and shelters and impacting over 130,000 IDPs including 65,000 children. In the north, in Erbil and Ninewa the camps of Qayyarah Airstrip, Jeda’ah, Salamiyah, Nimrud and Debaga also sustained heavy damages. Assessments in flooded camps identified tent replacement, provision of WASH services, and drainage/clearing operations as most critical needs. Mitigation measures put in place in November and December appear to have been effective - despite continued rains in December, no further damages have been reported from camps.

As of end-December, despite high-level advocacy humanitarian partners in northern Iraq continued to face challenges in delivery of humanitarian aid and access constraints remained unresolved. In 2018, Iraq also saw two earthquakes in August (6.2 magnitude) and November (6.3 magnitude). Despite the epicentre being in western Iran in both cases, the impact in Iraq was enough to cause at least three deaths as well as injuries that required hospitalisation and destruction of property in northern parts of the country.