Iraq + 1 more

WFP Iraq Country Brief, August 2020

Situation Report
Originally published


In Numbers

354,741 people assisted in August 2020*

0.41 mt of in-kind assistance distributed

USD 2.54 million distributed through cash-based transfers

USD 31 million six months net funding requirements (September 2020 – February 2021)

Operational Update & COVID-19 Response

• In August, WFP delivered cash and food assistance to 266,805 IDPs, 69,090 refugees, and 18,846 returnees and people from vulnerable communities, through Food for Assets (FFA) and Urban Livelihoods programmes, reaching 91 percent of the operational plan in 11 governorates.
This included an additional 38,000 refugees and IDPs as part of WFP’s scale-up to meet increased humanitarian needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. WFP continues to consider appeals from families via special helpdesks in camps, to be included in the next cycle of assistance.

• Around 155,000 people in the Duhok and Kirkuk IDP camps received Family Food Rations (FFRs) as part of WFP’s contingency plan. This is part of WFP’s “hybrid” food/cash assistance to these camps between now and November, until the new Financial Service Providers in these areas are able to deliver cash assistance. For the third month, ready-to-eat food packages with Immediate Response Rations were again distributed to some 101 quarantined people in camps.

• Alongside COVID-19 concerns, the security situation remains precarious. On the morning of 26 August, an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated on the road between Erbil and Mosul. WFP’s vehicles on a field mission were impacted; staff were examined in hospital and were cleared to return home. A full enquiry is being carried out jointly by WFP, UNAMI and Iraqi police.

• Movement restrictions continued across the country, and ongoing liquidity issues again resulted in some delays in WFP’s assistance to IDPs and refugees. WFP continued to coordinate with all partners and suppliers to deliver as efficiently as possible to people assisted.

• WFP is continuing to pioneer new digital solutions to avoid people needing to redeem physical cash entitlements and to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. These include “cashless transactions” whereby people shop directly from their mobile phones in camps, virtual prepaid cards which even work without a smartphone variety of mobile phone, and e-voucher assistance delivery enabled by SMS.

• The government continued to facilitate and support the return of willing families to Sinjar, Ninewa – where communities were severely affected during the conflict • (cont’d from page 1) with ISIL. More than 10,103 people returned from camps in Duhok, in addition to 5,799 individuals from out-of-camp locations, in the past few weeks. Returns to Sinjar are on hold, due to movement restrictions. WFP is monitoring and assessing the situation, and will be supporting around 5,770 returnee families with food assistance in Sinjar. A livelihoods / resilience project in Sinjar is also being developed.

• WFP is continuing to work with the UNOPS Iraq Information Centre (IIC) hotline to ensure that people receive the right information on their assistance, including the temporary inkind food rations from August to November, by phone and via their Facebook page. Furthermore, monthly training sessions for call centre staff continue, on programmatic developments. Key messages continue to be shared with the call centre, cooperating partners, Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) and clusters, for the widest dissemination possible, to inform people assisted and authorities about operational changes in select camps. Furthermore, an animated video is being developed, to raise awareness about fake fees that some agents impose when “cashing out” outside camps.

• Having resumed in July, livelihoods / “Food for Assets” activities continued in rural areas, maintaining precautionary measures. WFP Iraq’s pioneering EMPACT project provides coaching and training in IT and digital skills to vulnerable Syrian refugees and Iraqi youth.
Training recommenced in August via new virtual classrooms run by implementing partners, in Baghdad,
Anbar, Sulaymaniyah, Ninewa, Erbil and Duhok.

• In response to COVID-19 and the loss of day work and income, urban livelihoods activities began in August, to reach up to 300,000 vulnerable people. The objective is to provide immediate economic support to people who lost their jobs, in peri-urban areas. Projects commenced in Basra, Wassit, Baghdad and Mosul. Additional projects are also under consideration, depending on funding.

• Under the School Feeding Programme, WFP is continuing to augment its capacity strengthening work with the Ministry of Education (MoE). An agreement was reached to use take-home rations in case schools remain partially or fully closed. Follow up discussions will take place during the next coordination meeting with MoE. Meanwhile, WFP and UNICEF are collaborating on a concept note to pilot cash transfers to incentivise 2,000 primary school girls to continue with secondary education. The project aims to enhance enrolment, attendance and completion, and reduce dropouts.

• WFP air passenger flights ran in Iraq from 15 June – 19 August, to and from Sharjah (UAE) and Baghdad/Erbil, to support humanitarian and other partners while commercial flights were interrupted. WFP Aviation continues to closely follow all commercial aviation operations in the region and may reinstate Global Passenger Service Flights to Iraq should commercial flights be disrupted again.