UNICEF photo: Boy holds box of UNICEF supplies © UNICEF IRAQ/2015/Khuzaie


UNICEF is appealing for US$160 million to meet the growing humanitarian needs of children and women in Iraq in 2015.

In 2015, UNICEF and partners plan for:
3.7 million

people have access to sufficient quantity of safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene


children reached through temporary learning spaces and benefitting from teaching and learning materials


most vulnerable children better protected from risks of winter with appropriate clothing

2015 Requirements: US$160,014,464

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Total affected population: 8.2 million
Total affected children: 3.7 million

Total people to be reached in 2015: 4 million
Total children to be reached in 2015: 1.26 million

Iraq continues to face a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions. Currently, more than 8.2 million people are in need of life-saving assistance, up from 5.2 million at the start of 2015. The number is expected to reach a staggering 10 million by the end of 2015. Since January 2014, over 3 million people, half of whom are children, have been forced from their homes. The dispersal of internally displaced persons (IDPs) across thousands of locations inside Iraq puts increased pressure on host communities, and fluid population movements, which lead to new or secondary displacements, are increasing children’s vulnerability. Further, the number of Syrian refugees in Iraq has increased from 210,000 at the start of 2015, to nearly 250,000 as of mid-2015.

Approximately one million people, who are in need of assistance, remain in areas under the control of armed groups, and are therefore inaccessible to humanitarian actors. Some Iraqis are returning to their homes in areas previously occupied by armed groups. Destruction of water and sanitation systems, schools and health facilities has left these people without access to basic services. Children remain exposed to risk of death, injury, abduction, forced recruitment, sexual and physical violence and separation from caregivers. The education of some 3.1 million children and adolescents has been disrupted as a result of the conflict, and an estimated 580,000 children have not had any education in the past year. The deteriorating nutritional status of children, when coupled with cold, wet conditions in the winter months, increases the risk of respiratory infection, especially for those IDPs without adequate shelter and services.

Humanitarian strategy

Revised 2015 Programme Targets


  • 3.7 million people have access to sufficient quantity of safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene
  • 970,000 have access to appropriate sanitation facilities
  • 1.4 million have access to basic hygiene items


  • 550,000 children reached through temporary learning spaces and benefitting from teaching and learning materials
  • 8,000 teachers trained on classroom management and PSS

Health and nutrition

  • 5.8 million children under 5 vaccinated against polio
  • 93,400 children U5 vaccinated against measles
  • 484,000 children have their growth monitored

Child protection

  • 108,493 children access psychosocial support services
  • 14,846 referrals to specialized protection services

Social protection

  • 28,887 most vulnerable families receiving child-focused cash transfer

Rapid response

  • 4.1 million vulnerable and newly-displaced people receiving RRM kits within 72 hours of response activation


  • 450,000 most vulnerable children better protected from risks of winter with appropriate clothing

UNICEF leads the education and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) clusters, is focal agency for the child protection sub-cluster, and is a key player in the health and nutrition sectors for children. Collaboration continues with emergency mechanisms for central and regional government, UN agencies, international non-government organizations and local partners. UNICEF’s priorities in this critical response are to sustain health and nutrition interventions, provide safe water and sanitation, provide safe learning spaces and psychosocial support, and alleviate the immediate basic needs of families on-the-move through the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM).

A new inter-agency Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Iraq was launched mid-year. The 6 month plan (July to December 2015) aims to address ‘bare-bones’, integrated emergency response requirements to meet the priority humanitarian needs for IDPs, host-communities, and other affected populations, including those in hard-to-reach locations. The tapered closing of the 2014/2015 Strategic Response Plan (SRP) is ongoing to the end of 2015, alongside the 2015 HRP.

As of July 2015, UNICEF’s humanitarian strategy in Iraq has been aligned with the new UN HRP. To meet its universal commitment to improve the lives of all children in Iraq, UNICEF must ensure that continued quality services stretch beyond the HRP’s minimum standards. UNICEF’s HAC funding requirements have been revised downwards from US$319 million (January 2015 HAC), to US$160 million1, of which US$48 million falls under the UN HRP appeal. UNICEF’s appeal, through to the end of 2015, is to meet children’s life-saving needs, ensure the delivery of basic services while achieving more lasting and sustained improvements for the most vulnerable.

Within the HRP, UNICEF is focusing on sustaining health and nutrition interventions, providing safe water and sanitation, and covering immediate, life-saving needs of highly vulnerable families on the move through the RRM.

Results 2015 (September 2014 to August 2015)

Since the start of the crisis, UNICEF and partners have distributed life-saving assistance through the RRM to 3.5 million highly vulnerable people on-the-move. UNICEF and partners provided: over 2.3 million people (45 per cent children) with access to safe drinking water; 916,000 people with hygiene materials; and more than 172,000 people with access to latrines. More than 60,000 children accessed psychosocial support and recreational activities in child friendly spaces. UNICEF created temporary learning spaces for over 200,000 children, and thereby supported their continued education even in crisis. Over 78,000 children under 1 year were vaccinated against measles, and almost 5.6 million children (161,318 from IDP communities and 5,421,652 from host communities) were vaccinated against polio during National Polio National Immunization Days (PNIDs), in collaboration with WHO and the Government. Since the first quarter of 2015, in light of severe shortages of funds, UNICEF has prioritized critical and high-impact interventions, including provision of learning spaces and psychosocial support, child-focused cash transfers and a safe water supply, to help ensure the continuation of critical services for children.

Funding requirements

After a rigorous humanitarian response prioritization exercise, during the HRP mid-year review, UNICEF reduced its 2015 appeal to US$160 million (down from US$319 million) to meet the critical humanitarian needs of women and children in Iraq. This will cover both immediate life-saving services, as well as more comprehensive and sustained services for all conflict-affected children in Iraq.

UNICEF is grateful for funds received to date and is urgently appealing for additional funds to sustain the provision of critical humanitarian needs of affected women and children. UNICEF’s response in support of Syrian refugees in Iraq is outlined in the HAC chapter on the Syria Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (‘3RP’).

If the HAC funding gap is not met:

  • access to safe drinking water and sanitation services for 820,000 people (410,000 children) will be jeopardized;
  • 420,000 children may lose their educational opportunities, increasing the risk of a lost generation of Iraqi youth;
  • health services will face drastic cuts, risking measles vaccinations and services for growth monitoring;
  • 87,000 children will not receive psychosocial support;
  • direct cash transfer to the most vulnerable will be at risk, thereby reducing families ability to meet their basic needs;
  • At least 1.2 million of the most vulnerable displaced people (600,000 children) will not receive life-saving kits as they flee to safety;
  • 450,000 children will not be kept warm when they experience harsh winter conditions.

1 This includes the US$48 million in the HRP.