BAGHDAD - The humanitarian situation of Iraqis displaced in the Kurdistan region of Iraq is worsening due to limited access to jobs and economic opportunities, according to an assessment conducted by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), The Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the REACH Initiative which fights child hunger and undernutrition.
The rapid assessment, conducted in recent months, surveyed internally displaced Iraqis living in and out of camps as well local communities. It found that high unemployment rates have driven displaced families to increasingly rely on negative coping mechanisms such as skipping meals, eating smaller portions and spending their savings, in order to meet their basic food needs.
With the Iraqi crisis well into its second year, over three million people have been displaced throughout the country, including an estimated one million within Kurdistan and the neighbouring areas of Ninewa and Diyala governorates.
“Most displaced families have already been forced to move multiple times within Kurdistan and the increase in population is putting strain on Kurdistan’s already limited resources and host communities,” said Jane Pearce, Representative and Country Director of WFP in Iraq. “These people have been uprooted several times because of the conflict and now they are facing difficulty finding work to feed themselves and their families.”
In April, the assessment found that the majority of displaced families -- as well as some host communities -- were only able to afford basic food needs by resorting to negative coping strategies such as reducing meal sizes and spending savings. Meanwhile rates of unemployment were high and many IDP families in camps in particular had already exhausted their savings. The assessment warned that additional shocks could have an impact on their ability to afford enough food. Since then, amid increased displacements and a severe lack of funding, WFP has been forced to reduce food rations by up to 50 percent Families who previously had sufficient access to food are now at risk of food insecurity and are increasingly taking extreme measures to cope.
“Where farmers have had their equipment and harvests destroyed, crop production has plummeted and markets are ruined. Price fluctuations, reduced water supply and insecurity have devastated overall food production across the country and put more strains on the 2.4 million food-insecure Iraqis.” said Dr. Fadel ElZubi, FAO Representatives in Iraq.
Continued conflict, reductions in WFP food assistance and disruptions to the Public Distribution System, a government-run social protection programme that provides food to all Iraqis, could push more people to cope by selling assets, eating fewer meals and eating less nutritious food, which would in turn cause levels of nutrition to fall further as winter sets in.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
FAO is the lead agency in the food security and agriculture sector, providing information analysis on food security and nutrition, policy advices and supporting resilience building to countries , communities and farmers affected by crisis around the world.
REACH Initiative is a joint initiative of two international NGOs - ACTED and IMPACT - and the UN Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT). REACH was created in 2010 to facilitate the development of information tools and products that enhance the capacity of aid actors to make evidence-based decisions in emergency, recovery and development contexts.
For more information, please contact:
Marwa Awad, Communications Officer for WFP in Iraq (email@example.com)
Lubna Al Tarabishi, Communications Officer for FAO in Iraq (Lubna.AlTarabishi@fao.org)
Amelie Sundberg, REACH Initiative Iraq, (firstname.lastname@example.org)