Iraq

UNICEF Iraq Monthly Humanitarian Situation Report, September 2018

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Highlights

• In advance of the new school year, learning environments were improved for 2,751 children (1,403 girls) in Anbar and Salah al Din as temporary tented learning spaces were upgraded to semi-permanent facilities and new classrooms were delivered. In addition, 17,200 new and repaired desks were delivered to schools in multiple locations in Ninewa and in Ramadi, Anbar.

• UNICEF supported activation of Education and WASH coordination structures in southern Iraq, to respond to continuing water scarcity challenges. In September, five water pumps were installed and are now operational in Basrah’s ‘R-Zero’ water project, with pumps helping to improve fresh water provision to parts of Basrah City Centre and surrounding districts. Water trucking for affected schools is being finalized to ensure no delays in opening schools for the new academic year.

• In September, 2,000 cases of diarrhoea were reported in Qadissiya Governorate; the local Directorate of Health (DOH) confirmed that no cases of cholera had been found. As immediate support, UNICEF dispatched 50,000 oral rehydration sachets (ORS) to the DoH.

• After agreements with the local authorities in Mosul City, Ninewa, UNICEFsupported water trucking continued in September on a smaller scale, with 39,700 individuals served in 10 neighbourhoods of the Old City.

September 2018

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

1.89 million internally displaced people (IDP)
4.07 million people returned to newly accessible areas (IOM, Displacement Tracking Matrix, 30 September 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 $ 97.6 million

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Water scarcity in the southern governorates of Iraq continues to be a concern. It is estimated that 25 per cent of the total population (around 1.8 million people) in 17 districts in the four most-affected governorates are critically impacted by water shortages. Low water levels in the main Shat Al-Arab river, and seawater incursion into the river, mean salinity has increased and water is increasingly undrinkable. This is compounded by severe environmental problems, including discharge of sewage and petro-chemicals directly into the river without adequate treatment.

These factors are making it extremely hard to secure safe drinking water. Between 12 August and 23 September, around 88,550 cases of gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses were recorded. Efforts to understand the cause of this outbreak have pointed to factors related to water quality and quantity, which has been decreasing significantly since June 2018 because of lack of snowfall in the previous winter, upstream demand, closure of feeder water sources and damming by neighbouring countries. In September, preliminary results of tests indicate presence of ‘Escherichia Coli’ in 50 per cent of cases. No other specific biological causes were identified as all cases show non-pathogenic organisms or normal rate of endemic pathogens. Given the scale and complexity of the situation, immediate needs include securing access to safe water, with specific need to ensure that the start of the school year is not delayed by lack of access to safe water, as well as supporting government surveillance and multi-sectoral coordination, access to health care, and awareness-raising on water safety. There is a need for short and medium-term measures to ensure safe water and preparedness for outbreak of waterborne disease as Iraq’s cholera season approaches, as well as longer-term approaches to address water scarcity.

More than four million people, including over two million children, have returned to their homes, while more than 1.8 million people, including one million children, remain internally displaced across the country. Around 62 per cent of the internally displaced people (IDP) are living in private settings and non-camp locations. Due to rates of return, in September the government closed Daquq IDP camp in Kirkuk and Khaldiyah camp in Anbar, causing movement of more than 860 families to retaken areas, host communities and other camps. In 2018, a total of 32 camps have been closed across Iraq, an indication of decreasing need for camp shelter, but of those remaining IDPs, nearly 29 per cent remain in camps (an estimated 522,00 individuals, 245,340 children), and nine per cent are living in critical shelter arrangements (an estimated 162,000 individuals, 76,140 children). Ninewa (51 per cent) and Dahuk (27 per cent) governorates host 78 per cent of IDPs living in camps.

More than four million people, including over two million children, have returned to their homes, while more than 1.8 million people, including one million children, remain internally displaced across the country. Around 62 per cent of the internally displaced people (IDP) are living in private settings and non-camp locations. Due to rates of return, in September the government closed Daquq IDP camp in Kirkuk and Khaldiyah camp in Anbar, causing movement of more than 860 families3 to retaken areas, host communities and other camps. In 2018, a total of 32 camps have been closed across Iraq4 , an indication of decreasing need for camp shelter, but of those remaining IDPs, nearly 29 per cent remain in camps (an estimated 522,00 individuals, 245,340 children), and nine per cent are living in critical shelter arrangements (an estimated 162,000 individuals, 76,140 children). Ninewa (51 per cent) and Dahuk (27 per cent) governorates host 78 per cent of IDPs living in camps.
The Iraq Ministry of Health (MoH) declared an outbreak of measles in September, and has requested support from UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to activate a two-phase nationwide measles vaccination campaign targeting five million children between 9-59 months. The first phase took place in 10 governorates between 2 and 13 September, and data is being finalised at time of this report’s preparation. The second phase of the campaign, which will require direct UNICEF and WHO support, is scheduled to take place in January 2019.