• In February, Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) partners delivered immediate, life-saving emergency supplies to 14,655 individuals on the move, including 8,575 children, across five governorates. UNICEF and partners also delivered Multi-Sector Emergency Packages (MSEP) to 8,782 individuals in need in retaken areas, including 4,782 children, in Ka’im district, western Anbar, ensuring provision of essential items.
• UNICEF ensured continued water trucking to 14 neighbourhoods in West Mosul, ensuring safe water for 54,150 individuals (115,213 children). In coordination with the Directorate of Water (DoW) Ninewa and other partners, UNICEF continued to fix the water network, intending to eventually eliminate water trucking.
• Since the start of 2018, UNICEF partners provided psychosocial services (PSS) to 19,262 newly-registered IDP children (9,299 girls), specialized child protection services reached 2,424 IDP children (1,170 girls).
• In February, the UN launched a two-year Recovery and Resilience Programme (RRP) at the International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq. The RRP complements the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), and builds on existing efforts to ensure tangible improvements at the start of the reconstruction process. UNICEF’s complementary 2018 Recovery and Resilience for Children (RRC) appeal asks for US$58.9 million to support the early recovery needs of children in Iraq.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
With the end of military offensives against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, security in many areas of the country is improving, although pockets of insecurity remain. A total of 3.5 million people have returned home, mainly to areas in Anbar, Ninewa, and Salah al-Din, but more than 2.3 million remain displaced, including over 1 million children. Since the start of the year, more than 200,000 new returnees have been recorded, as efforts to clear explosive hazards and restore basic services continue. However, the return process remains complex due to lack of information, poor conditions in camps, and restrictions on freedom of movement combined with significant levels of infrastructure damage in towns and villages. Return movements are potentially unsustainable, with reports that between mid-January and the end of February, 23,208 displaced people were recorded as arrivals to camps in Ninewa governorate. Most of these are ‘secondary displacements’, where families had left camps to return to places of origin, only to then later decide to return to camps.
Primary reasons given for return to camps are financial or economic, or because homes have been destroyed or damaged and remain unfit for habitation. These ‘reverse movements’ have caused planning and resource prioritisation challenges for partners, both for service delivery and as part of the camp consolidation process. Humanitarian partners expect that those who cannot or choose not to return to places of origin will remain in IDP camps where they will need continued education, health, water, sanitation, and child protection services until at least the middle of 2018.
Discussions continue between the Government of Iraq (GoI) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and the two sides appeared closer to reaching agreement on outstanding issues. However, in February, airports in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) remained limited to domestic flights only, road access between the KRI and neighbouring federal governorates such as Kirkuk and Ninewa was restricted, and KRG public sector employee salaries continued to be un- or partially-paid.