Reaching children in Iraq

Children are especially at risk in Iraq crisis

© UNICEF/Iraq/2015/Niles
Diban (second right) presides over the tea with his extended family in Basirva 2, a camp for internally displaced people located in Zakho, northern Iraq.

News from those in the region working on the behalf of children

An estimated 1 million people have found safety and temporary shelter in camps, in empty school buildings and in rural mountain hamlets in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. While some people were able to escape with bundles or suitcases to carry their belongings, many weren’t so lucky. Now those who came here for safety are facing an entirely different threat: the cold Kurdish winter, which has arrived early this year in the mountains of northern Iraq, bringing frigid winds and freezing rain, and causing people to shiver through the night. A shallow flood of muddy water has overtaken many of the camps.

Provision of supplies to date fall far short of the existing need. More must be done to provide humanitarian supplies to children, women and their families in the area.

Since January, UNICEF has delivered lifesaving assistance to 641,243 people displaced throughout Iraq.

Perspectives, actions and accounts from UNICEF's team and partners

A dangerous journey ends in sanctuary
IRAQ, 26 July 2015 – An unseasonal rain shower has blown through Basirva 2, a camp for internally displaced people located in Zakho, northern Iraq, and Diban is enjoying the temporary break from the normally hot day in his tent.

Training and quick thinking saves lives
IRAQ, 21 July 2015 – The day in Aliawe Camp for internally displaced people started like any other. Then disaster struck. A fire broke out.

“I couldn’t imagine that we were finally united.”
ERBIL, IRAQ, 30 July 2015 – Kidnapped by militants and held captive for months on end, a mother and son are reunited with the boy’s father. While the family now lives safely in a camp for displaced people, the emotional wounds remain – as they do for tens of thousands of children in Iraq affected by conflict.

Fawsi’s New School
IRAQ, 6 July 2015 – This morning, at Dawidiya Camp for internally displaced people (IDPs), children excitedly await an important event: the official opening of their first permanent school.

Getting water to go uphill in Iraq
QASHAFAR, IRAQ, 9 June 2015 – To reach a group of Iraqi families sheltering on an isolated plateau with no water supply, the UNICEF team takes a creative approach to water delivery.

In Iraq, water brings relief
ERBIL, IRAQ, June 2015 – For a grandmother and her family displaced in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, new water and sanitation facilities have helped improve everyday life.

Good health practices for displaced children
IRAQ, 2 July 2015 – Despite have reached safety in the camp, 10-year-old Salma is one of a growing number of children who have become infested with head lice in the tumult of displacement, forcing her to temporarily leave school.

A full year of sustained violence across Iraq has hit children the hardest
30 June 2015 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today said that over the past year in Iraq, it has seen a 75 per cent increase in grave violations against children that include killing and maiming, abduction, recruitment as soldiers, sexual violence, attacks against schools and denial of humanitarian access.

Empowering Yazidi women through photography
IRAQ, 24 June 2015 – Bushra and other young women are enthusiastic participants in a photography workshop in Khanke displacement Camp. With funding from the Government of Italy, and facilitation by partners RDO, the aim of the workshop is to empower young Yazidi women through photography.

Among Iraq’s displaced, creating safe spaces for children
ERBIL, IRAQ, 11 May 2015 – For Iraqi children displaced from their homes and living in temporary shelters, a UNICEF-supported programme provides a place for them to be children again.

A volunteer’s commitment to helping Syrian mothers and babies
CHAMMAH, IRAQ 20 April, 2015 - Janda, a 24-year-old volunteer health worker at Darashakran Camp for Syrian refugees in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, starts her day early. She came here when her family left Syria, two years ago and crossed into Iraq. She was enrolled in nursing school, but when her family fled the conflict she lost her chance to finish her studies.

Campaigning for vaccinations in Erbil
ERBIL, IRAQ, 1 May, 2015 - The polio immunization campaign in northern Iraq, with generous funding from Rotary International, is a success story. UNICEF is fighting for polio eradication, and with Rotary funding has sent 50 teams to high-risk areas throughout the region to improve awareness of the polio campaign and routine immunization.

© UNICEF Iraq/2015/Niles

Meet Fatima
BASERMA, IRAQ, 14 April, 2015 - 8 year old Fatima and her family fled from Damascus two years to find safety in Baserma, a camp set up for Syrian refugees near Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Fatima feels safe now in their home in Baserma Camp. She started her formal education again in 2015 after a long, unwanted break.

From Syria to Iraq, knitting their lives
DOHUK, IRAQ, 12 March, 2015 – A day in the life of a teenage girl in Domiz refugee camp typically includes a half day at school followed by housework and chores for the remaining of the day.

Progress on Polio in Iraq
ERBIL, Iraq, 7 April 2015 - One year ago today a 34 month old girl contracted polio in a small settlement just north of Baghdad. Today, Iraq and the entire middle has gone for one full year without another child being paralyzed by polio. Going for a full year without a polio case does not mean that the outbreak response is over, but it does signify that the response was able to rapidly scale up scope and quality of services, and deliver oral polio vaccine to children across Iraq, even in conflict zones.

Cash grants for Iraqi communities on the move 
Since January 2014, over 2 million Iraqis have fled their homes due to violence in the northwest of the country. In response, UNICEF recently signed a USD $5 Million agreement with the Governorate of Dohuk, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, to provide emergency cash assistance to vulnerable families living in camp settings.

4 million children impacted by conflict in Syria and Iraq
Some 14 million children are now suffering from the escalating conflict sweeping Syria and much of Iraq. With the conflict in Syria now entering its fifth year, the situation of more than 5.6 million children inside the country remains the most desperate. That includes up to 2 million children who are living in areas of the country largely cut off from humanitarian assistance due to fighting or other factors. Some 2.6 million Syrian children are still out of school.

With 15 million children caught up in major conflicts, UNICEF declares 2014 a devastating year for children
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 8 December 2014 – The year 2014 has been one of horror, fear and despair for millions of children, as worsening conflicts across the world saw them exposed to extreme violence and its consequences, forcibly recruited and deliberately targeted by warring groups, UNICEF said today. Yet many crises no longer capture the world’s attention, warned the children’s agency.

Doua’a dreams of home
Scorching extremes are the everyday reality for the 200 families at Garmawa camp, who have fled the sectarian violence in Mosul and have come north to safety in Iraqi Kurdistan. The children have left behind their toys, clothing and everything that is familiar to them.

9459 Coats given to children in Iraq
Winter clothes delivered to 9,459 children
, from December 14th to 16th, 2014. UNICEF and ACTED, with financial support from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, were able to distribute 4,847 clothing outfits to children in Berseve Camp 1 and 4,612 sets of clothing in Berseve Camp 2. These clothes help protect children from freezing cold, and keep a warm smile on their face. 

After fleeing violence, Iraq’s displaced children face a deadly winter 
MANGESH, Iraq, 29 October 2014 – When her village near Sinjar mountain was attacked last summer, 11-year-old Zeynab fled with her family to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, where many Iraqis as well as Syrians have sought refuge from fierce fighting that has taken an enormous toll on civilians.

Displaced in northern Iraq, a mother protects her children
ZAKHO, Iraq, 5 Sept 2014 – A month ago, Shaha and her eight children made a long and perilous journey before arriving in this camp for internally displaced persons. Amid the chaos, the crying, and the sorrow, Shaha explains how her eight children stayed together as they went up the mountain. “We just held onto each other, we ran, and we didn’t let go.”

UNICEF takes part in UN inter-agency mission to Amerli, northern Iraq
ERBIL, Iraq, 3 September 2014 – A team of UNICEF technical officers, including health, water, sanitation and hygiene, protection and emergency experts, were on an inter-agency assessment mission today to the town of Amerli in the Salah Al-Din Governorate, northern Iraq.

Amid ongoing conflict, Iraq successfully implements polio campaign supported by UNICEF and WHO
ERBIL / AMMAN, 1 September 2014 – A mass polio immunization campaign across Iraq earlier this month succeeded in reaching 3.75 out of the  4 million children under the age of 5, despite the ongoing violence  sweeping much of the country.

UNICEF to provide cash assistance to displaced Iraqis
ERBIL, Iraq 20 August, 2014 – In response to the continuing humanitarian crisis in Iraq, UNICEF and the Governorate of Dahuk have signed a 5 million US dollar agreement supporting one-time direct cash assistance to vulnerable, displaced families.

Yazidi refugees in Syria: lifesaving UNICEF supplies delivered
Juan is from the Yazidi minority group, many of whom are fleeing to Syria from the mountains of Sinjar in Iraq. Sinjar, a district of Ninewa in north-west Iraq with a population of at least 150,000 children – including many who are internally displaced – was taken over by the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) on Sunday.

Aid agencies work to improve conditions for Iraqi refugees arriving in neighbouring Syria
AL MALKIYA, Syria-Iraq border, 18 August 2014 – Several thousand children are among an estimated 12,000 Iraqi refugees now sheltering at a camp in neighbouring Syria after crossing the remote border between the two countries. UNICEF is mobilizing life-saving support, but says risks of disease outbreak remain.

Video: Displaced in Iraq: “We live like prisoners”
Ahmad and his children are among families sheltering in abandoned kindergarten after fleeing the violence in Mosul. "I hope our kids can go back to their school, their families and the place they come from," he says, "and that this crisis comes to an end, God willing."

Photos: Support for Yazidis in Iraq 
Fighting in Iraq’s Sinjar District, uprooted members of the ethno-religious Yazidi group who called the area home. Thousands of families fled to Sinjar Mountain to escape but, instead, became trapped, without access to food or water.

Horrifying accounts of child rights violations emerge from survivors of violence in north-western Iraq
Dohuk, northern Iraq, 20 August 2014 – "The type and scope of violations against children, women and minority communities in Iraq in the past weeks is one of the worst seen in this century, and is completely unacceptable by any standards or codes of conduct that govern conflict," said Dr. Marzio Babille, UNICEF Iraq Representative

UNICEF Steps up Humanitarian Response in Northern Iraq  
ERBIL, Iraq 12 August, 2014 – As the humanitarian crisis continues to unfold in Iraq, UNICEF and other humanitarian actors are stepping up efforts to meet the urgent needs of up to 30,000 members of the ethnic Yazidi minority who are being extracted from Sinjar Mountain, in addition to helping meet the needs of a further 12,000 displaced people who are now sheltering in the Kurdish capital, Erbil.

Amid the crowds sheltering in a school, a displaced Iraqi girl dreams of home
SINJAR, Iraq, 22 July 2014 – The Zarifa Usi school, where Marwa now lives, is a far cry from the Golden Dunes school, where she used to study.

Mass Polio Vaccination Campaign Supported by WHO and UNICEF Kicks Off in Iraq
ERBIL/AMMMAN, 11 August 2014 – Iraq has launched a polio immunization campaign aiming to protect over four million children under the age of 5 throughout the country against the crippling disease.

Statement on child deaths in Iraq; attributable to Marzio Babille, UNICEF Representative
ERBIL, 5 August 2014 – The reported deaths of 40 children from minority groups who were displaced from Sinjar city and district by armed violence are of extreme concern.

Mass global action needed to protect children against polio in Syria, Iraq and region
AMMAN/CAIRO, 22 July 2014 – In a report released today, WHO and UNICEF announced completion of the first phase of the biggest polio vaccination campaign ever undertaken in the history of the Middle East. Twenty-five million children under the age of five were reached in seven countries in 37 rounds.

UNICEF reaches displaced children in Iraq's Sinjar Province
DOHUK, Iraq, 2 July 2014 – UNICEF said today it made its first delivery of essential humanitarian supplies to Sinjar, a town in the western Ninevah Governorate of Iraq, to assist some of the thousands of people who fled there over the past few days.

Iraq information in French:

Lancement d'une campagne de vaccination de masse contre la poliomyélite soutenue par l'OMS et l'UNICEF
ERBIL/AMMAN, 11 août 2014 – L'Iraq a lancé une campagne de vaccination contre la poliomyélite visant à protéger plus de quatre millions d'enfants de moins de 5 ans contre cette maladie invalidante.

L'UNICEF renforce l'aide humanitaire pour les enfants iraquiens déplacés
ERBIL, Iraq, le 24 juin 2014 – L'eau salubre et l'hygiène sont au cœur de l'intervention humanitaire de l'UNICEF pour les enfants et les familles affectés par le confit actuel en Iraq. La dernière crise, qui a éclaté le 11 juin, a provoqué le déplacement d'environ 500 000 personnes, la moitié étant des enfants.

Iraq information in Spanish:

Los niños en la primera línea del conflicto de Irak
NUEVA YORK/ERBIL, Irak, 27 de junio de 2014 – Sin hogar, asustados y empobrecidos: ésta la realidad para muchos niños y niñas desplazados durante las dos últimas semanas de violencia en Irak, dijo hoy UNICEF.

Declaración del Representante de UNICEF Irak sobre los últimos desplazamientos de civiles en el norte de Irak
Erbil, 26 de junio 2014 – UNICEF está alarmado por el reciente desplazamiento masivo de la población civil en el norte de Irak. Aproximadamente 1.500 personas, entre ellas un gran número de niños y ancianos, llegaron a Erbil ayer de Hamdaniya, provincia de Nínive, y los informes indican que está en movimiento un grupo aún mayor de desplazados. Muchas de estas personas desplazadas han viajado largas distancias a pie y algunas sufren lesiones por la reciente violencia.

UNICEF gana acceso para la asistencia humanitaria a los niños iraquíes desplazados
Erbil, 24 de junio de 2014 – El agua limpia y la higiene están en el centro de la respuesta humanitaria de UNICEF para los niños y las familias afectadas por el conflicto actual en Irak. La última crisis, que comenzó el 11 de junio, dio como resultado el desplazamiento de unas 500.000 personas, la mitad de ellos niños.

UNICEF envía suministros humanitarios para los niños desplazados por el conflicto en Irak
Erbil, Irak, 18 de junio 2014.- Un avión de carga con suministros de emergencia para los niños afectados por el conflicto en Irak llegó a Erbil el martes.

Iraq information in Arabic

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© UNICEF/NYHQ2014-1097/Khuzaie
On 9 August 2014, Yazidi children, women and men who fled Sinjar Mountain rest near the border with the Syrian Arab Republic. Thousands of people managed to escape into the Syrian Arab Republic before making their way back to Iraq’s northern Kurdistan Region. Overall, the region hosts an estimated 700,000 displaced Iraqis, in addition to some 220,000 refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic.



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