An earthquake in north-eastern Iraq on 12 November reached 7.3 on the Richter scale. UNICEF provided technical support to needs assessments in affected areas with specific focus on education and WASH.
A total of 108 school buildings were damaged, six of them badly. UNICEF will deliver 52 temporary learning spaces to affected communities to support continuation of education for over 3,800 students while more comprehensive repairs commence. Immediate WASH needs in affected areas are being met by the government, with UNICEF and WASH partners on standby.
Water trucking continued in 16 neighbourhoods of West Mosul, filling a water supply gap while repair of the municipal network continues. In November, 109,800 people (half of them children) had continued access to safe water through this intervention.
In November, there was a decrease in Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) deliveries distributions compared to October, due to the end of military operations in western Anbar, and a decrease in new internal displacements. In total 70,255 individuals received RRM distributions in November.
Winter response began, and reached 5, 367 children with warm winter clothing, including 787 earthquake-affected children.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
5.1 million children in need out of
11 million people affected (OCHA, HRP 2017)
2.99 million internally displaced people (IDP)
2.67 million people returned to newlyaccessible areas (IOM, Displacement Tracking Matrix, 15 November 2017)
Target population in 2017
Rapid Response: 1.3 million
IDPs WASH: 1 million people
Education: 690,000 children
Health: 5.7 million children (polio)
Child Protection: 161,500 children
UNICEF Appeal 2017 US$ 161.4 million
Funding Status* US $ 132.5 million
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Military operations to retake the remaining western Anbar districts under the control of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) ended in mid-November. Around 22,000 people have been reported as newly-displaced since the Anbar campaign began in September 20171 .An interagency assessment mission indicated shortage of basic services with drinking water, health care, household items and winter clothing reported as the most pressing humanitarian needs. The total number of displaced has dropped below 3 million people for the first time since 2014. Although over 2.6 million people have returned home, many locations have suffered significant conflict damage, and local authorities may not offer basic services, including water and sanitation, primary healthcare, or education.
Protection concerns remain for people returning to areas contaminated by unexploded ordnance, and on the voluntary nature of returns. On 12 November, northeast Iraq experienced an earthquake of magnitude 7.3 on the Richter scale, per the United States Geological Survey (USGS), with the epicentre on the Iranian side of the Iran-Iraq border. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) reported nine fatalities and over 550 people injured, with most affected districts being Darbandikhan, Halabja, and Garmiyan. The Darbandikhan Dam on the Diyala River was impacted by landslides that partially blocked the spillway and caused structural damage. Immediate need for shelter and warm clothes were reported, and 108 schools were damaged, at least 16 of them badly.UNICEF participated in joint OCHA-led assessments, and a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team specialized in natural disasters arrived within four days at the request of the Government of Iraq (GoI). Smaller-scale aftershocks of 4 to 4.5 on the Richter scale continued throughout the month.
Despite growing international pressure and some concessions offered by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), tensions between the federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government have not yet been resolved. Although humanitarian access across KRG and federal internal borders has improved since October, in some areas alternative routes are needed to avoid high-risk areas. Concerns about waterborne disease outbreaks remain high. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF are monitoring and responding with Ministry of Health (MoH),
Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and relevant ministries.
Humanitarian leadership and coordination
UNICEF leads the WASH Cluster, co-leads the Education cluster with Save the Children International, leads the Child Protection sub-cluster and Nutrition working group, and is an active member of the Health cluster. UNICEF, UNFPA, and WFP coordinate the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) Consortium serving IDPs, and the Multi-Sector Emergency Package (MSEP), delivering aid in retaken areas. In November, the child protection sub-cluster finalised a ‘Minimum Package for Child Protection in urban newly-retaken locations’. This guidance focuses on a community-based approach, including integration between CP and education. UNICEF, UNHCR, and WHO coordinate with relevant line Ministries through the Cholera Taskforce, led by the MoH.
Humanitarian action complements recovery and stabilization activities by enhancing preparedness and response capacity of State institutions and local actors. Under the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), strategic priorities are to: reach as many people in need as possible across Iraq by securing safe access to front-line and newly retaken areas; facilitate and advocate for voluntary, safe, and dignified returns; give options to families to live in Iraq in dignity by expanding resilience and social cohesion programmes; and help people affected by violence recover by providing specialized protection assistance. In support of the national response, humanitarian partners are expected to simultaneously respond to both mass displacement and mass returns. The development of the Iraq 2018 HRP is ongoing. With the 2018 Cluster strategies finalised, partners’ projects are submitted to Clusters, and will be reviewed in early December, after which cluster portfolios will be presented to the HRP Advisory Board.