UNICEF photo: girl at desk with UNICEF school bag looks at camera © UNICEF Iraq/2015/Khuzaie An internally displaced girl access education with UNICEF’s support.


In 2016, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children received structured, sustained resilience or psychosocial support programmes


displaced children received learning materials

2.4 million

people newly displaced by conflict received family kits

2016 Requirements: US$169,191,212

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Total affected population: 10 million
Total affected children: 4.7 million2

Total people to be reached in 2016: 7.58 million
Total children to be reached in 2016: 6.58 million3

The escalation of the conflict in Iraq has led to further displacement, and Iraq’s children are paying the price. In the first half of the year, military operations in Iraq intensified, with more than 85,000 people internally displaced in May and June alone, resulting in the displacement of more than 3.3 million people. In addition, 249,000 Syrian refugees continue to require assistance.4 Government capacity is limited and the rapid pace of new displacement has stretched resources of humanitarian actors. While life-saving assistance remains critical, children are also becoming increasingly vulnerable to serious risks and protection violations, including family separation and exposure to mines and improvised explosive devises. Today, one in five Iraqi children is at risk of death, injury, sexual violence, recruitment into fighting and abduction. Since 2014, UNICEF has verified 838 child deaths, and 794 injuries in Iraq. The actual number is likely to be much higher.5 Water and sanitation infrastructure is weak and public health services are deteriorating, leaving children and women at higher risk of poor health. Possible cholera outbreaks remain cause for concern. More than 600,000 displaced children have missed an entire school year6, placing especially girls at an increased risk of early marriage and other gender-based violence. Ongoing military operations will increase and intensify especially in Mosul and the surrounding area. More than 2.5 million people are likely to be directly affected or displaced. Serious concerns remain regarding the potential collapse of the Mosul Dam and its potential catastrophic consequences. UNICEF has revised its appeal accordingly to reflect these contextual changes.

Humanitarian strategy

2016 Programme Targets

Health and nutrition

  • 5.9 million IDP and host community children immunized against polio
  • 284,000 internally displaced children immunized against measles
  • 434,000 IDP and host community children accessed growth monitoring services


  • 1.9 million people, including vulnerable, at-risk displaced populations in and out of camps and newly-displaced, reached with clean water
  • 686,000 people with improved access to sanitation
  • 466,000 people provided with key basic hygiene supplies

Child protection

  • 206,000 children received structured, sustained resilience or psychosocial support programmes
  • 38,600 children received specialized protection services


  • 650,000 displaced children received learning materials
  • 42,000 displaced children accessed learning (in pre-fabricated learning spaces)
  • 7,000 teachers trained

Cash transfer

  • 14,655 most vulnerable households received child-focused cash transfers

Rapid / Seasonal Response

  • 2.4 million people newly displaced by conflict received family kits
  • 750,500 children better protected against the risks of winter

In line with the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan, UNICEF is working to address the immediate basic needs of families on the move through the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM); to provide health and nutrition interventions with a focus on women and children; to provide access to safe water, appropriate sanitation and suitable hygiene support; to strengthen resilience through direct cash transfers to most vulnerable families in and out of camps; and to increase access to safe learning spaces, quality education and sustained psychosocial support for the most vulnerable children. UNICEF is also facilitating the coordination for a more effective humanitarian response through its leadership of the education and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) clusters, and its participation in the child protection sub-cluster and nutrition working group. Collaboration also continues with emergency mechanisms of the central and regional governments, United Nations agencies, international non-governmental organizations and local partners. The response to Syrian refugees is ongoing and is being carried out under the regional No Lost Generation initiative. The refugee response is detailed in the Humanitarian Action for Children 2016 chapter on Syrian refugees.7

Results in 2016

As of 12 July 2016, UNICEF had received 62 per cent (US$53.3 million) of its revised appeal of US$169 million. In addition, funds received in late 2015 have been carried forward and allocated toward the 2016 appeal (US$52 million). However, significant funding gaps have affected all programmes, with the exception of education, for which UNICEF is on track to meet or exceed its 2016 targets. Insecurity and a limited presence of qualified partners constrain the response across all sectors. Despite a 37 per cent funding gap for WASH, interventions are implemented across camps, settlements, and host community locations to provide and expand sustainable services for long-term displaced populations while also ensuring life-saving responses for those newly displaced. Qualified child protection partners are limited, and services related to GBV and psychosocial care for children require intensive investment. UNICEF continues to provide much needed access to education, also by utilizing pre-existing stockpiles of educational materials procured in 2015.

Lifesaving response under the RRM and cash transfers for IDPs have been severely constrained due to limited funding. Despite the inherent challenges, UNICEF remains determined to reach the most vulnerable, increasing its targets in light of the situation on the ground, and looming scenarios of new mass displacements from Anbar and Mosul as military operations scale up.

Funding requirements

UNICEF has revised its humanitarian requirement from US$101 million to US$169 million to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of children in Iraq. As the military offensive intensifies, contingency stocks, as well as first line response requirements for Mosul and surrounding areas have been included. Additional funding will be required should currently inaccessible areas become accessible or if there are further displacements. In the event of new displacements, RRM response and supply of safe water are critical and require immediate action to ensure dignity and survival.

Without additional funding, UNICEF will be unable to:

  • Alleviate the immediate basic needs of families on the move through the RRM;
  • Provide lifesaving health and nutrition services to most vulnerable children;
  • Support additional rounds of essential vaccination services for infants;
  • Increase access to safe water supplies;
  • Offer expanded psychosocial support to children experiencing stress;
  • Increase availability or quality of support for GBV survivors; and,
  • Expand access to education.

UNICEF’s response to Syrian refugees is outlined in the Iraq chapter of the Syria Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan and the corresponding Humanitarian Action for Children 2016 appeal for Syrian refugees.

1 This figure excludes the potential caseload for Mosul. Depending on the intensity of fighting and the scale of violence in the months ahead, up to 13 million Iraqis may need some form of humanitarian assistance by the end of 2016.
2 Children make up an estimated 47 percent of the affected population; depending on the intensity of fighting, this figure could increase to over 6 million children by the end of 2016.
3 Total children reached is calculated by combining all children (under age 5) targeted in the nation-wide polio immunization campaign (5,931,000) and all children (aged 6-17) targeted with education support (650,000). The targets for other UNICEF sectors have not been included in this calculation to avoid double-counting. Children targeted by the polio campaign include children that are not considered to be directly affected by the conflict.
4 United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘Humanitarian Action for Children 2015: Syrian refugees’, UNICEF, 2015, , accessed 14 December 2015.
5 The Secretary General Children and Armed Conflict Report, May 2016.
6 Iraq Education Cluster Bulletin, November 2015.
7 United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘Humanitarian Action for Children 2015: Syrian refugees’, UNICEF, 2015, accessed 14 December 2015.
8 The current HRP and cluster targets do not yet include the Mosul scenario. As such, UNICEF targets are higher than those listed by the clusters. Cluster targets are under revision.
9 UNICEF achieved its target and will focus on access to safe water and access to latrines.
10 UNICEF achieved significant progress in Education, despite considerable funding shortfalls. This is largely due to the utilization of pre-existing stockpiles of educational materials in UNICEF warehouses, which had been already procured in 2015.
11 A significant number of partnerships have been established as of June 2016. It is anticipated that the rate of programming will increase in the coming months. In addition, the new target includes additional children who will be displaced during the military retake of Mosul. Additional funding will enable UNICEF to reach these newly displaced children.
12 Data on health interventions is received from the Ministry of Health schedules. Reporting timelines may not always align with those of UNICEF. January to June 2016 reports are forthcoming.
13 UNICEF has developed plans to accelerate services to meet this indicator in the second half of 2016.
14 UNICEF’s result fully covered the MoH nation-wide target. Multiple rounds will not change results as no addition children will be reached.