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Iraq
UNICEF photo © CEF Iraq/2019/Anmar

Iraq

In 2019, UNICEF and partners plan for:
363,444

children under 5 years in camps for internally displaced persons screened for malnutrition

314,985

children aged 9 to 59 months vaccinated against measles through routine immunization

972,808

people with continued and more resilient and equitable access to a sufficient safe water supply

2019 Requirements: US$72,987,777

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Snapshot

Total people in need: 6.7 million8
Total children (<18) in need: 3.3 million9

Total people to be reached: 1,039,30410
Total children to be reached: 543,44411

More than 6.7 million people in Iraq, including 3.3 million children under 18 years, will need humanitarian assistance in 2019.1 Although armed violence has declined, and over 4.2 million people are returning to their homes,2 1.7 million people, including 800,000 children,3 remain displaced. Over 30 per cent of displaced children live in camps, where the delivery of basic services is essential to reducing the risk of disease and ensuring access to water and sanitation facilities, vaccination, education and protective spaces. Vulnerable families returning to affected communities are in danger due to explosive hazards. Children are increasingly out of school in both in camps for displaced populations and in non-camp settings.4 Girls, boys and women who have survived gender-based violence require specialized services to recover and re-engage with their families and communities. After decades of violence and neglect, Iraq’s public services remain overstretched, with damaged water and sanitation networks and overburdened health systems putting children at risk of disease outbreaks. Since the start of 2018, 232 children have suffered grave violations of their rights, including killing, maiming, and recruitment into armed groups.5 The humanitarian crisis is compounded by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods and drought, which are threatening children’s safety across the country.

Humanitarian strategy

2019 programme targets

Nutrition

  • 363,444 children under 5 years in camps for internally displaced persons screened for malnutrition

Health

  • 314,985 children aged 9 to 59 months vaccinated against measles through routine immunization
  • 2,038 newborn babies in camps for internally displaced persons visited by trained health workers

WASH

  • 972,808 people with continued and more resilient and equitable access to a sufficient safe water supply
  • 486,404 people with continued access to safe and gender- and disabilities-sensitive sanitation facilities and hygiene items

Child protection

  • 135,000 girls and boys participating in structured, sustained psychosocial support
  • 10,400 at-risk girls and boys receiving case management services
  • 16,381 girls and women receiving individual or group psychosocial support

Education

  • 200,000 conflict-affected children accessing quality and inclusive formal and non-formal education

Cash-based transfers

  • 15,000 children from most vulnerable households benefiting from child-focused direct cash support

Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM)

  • 50 emergency response workshops conducted for government staff

Non-food items

  • 180,000 most vulnerable children received warm clothing for winter

UNICEF's humanitarian strategy in Iraq is aligned with the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan. UNICEF leads the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) cluster, the child protection sub-cluster and the Nutrition Working Group; co-leads the education cluster; and is a member of the health cluster. UNICEF is using its leadership position to strengthen the capacities of humanitarian partners to reach crisis-affected children, and continues to integrate gender-based violence risk mitigation into all programming. With the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UNICEF is maintaining temporary capacity for the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM), which government partners will take over in 2019. Safe water, gender-sensitive sanitation facilities and hygiene awareness activities are supported in camps, host communities and retaken areas. Children under 5 years are receiving immunization and nutrition services, especially in low-coverage areas. UNICEF plans to expand access to safe, quality education and facilitate psychosocial support and specialized protection services, including legal assistance and support for survivors of gender-based violence. Cash-based interventions and capacity building for longer-term recovery are being planned by UNICEF and partners. Recovery actions are complementing the UN Recovery and Resilience Programme in Iraq and the UNICEF Recovery and Resilience for Children appeal.

Results from 2019

As of 28 February 2019, UNICEF had US$30.8 million available against the US$72.9 million appeal (42 per cent funded).6 UNICEF continued critical water and sanitation interventions, reaching more than 300,000 conflict-affected people in camps, return locations and vulnerable host communities by February 2019. Community-based psycho-social support services for nearly 41,000 children, and more than 3,800 children have been supported to access more specialized protection assistance according to need. Iraq's Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism, which gathers data on grave violations of children's rights, had a verification rate of 83 per cent of all reports, supporting evidence-based advocacy.7 Measles and polio vaccination data is not yet available as of February 2019, but campaign and routine efforts continue. In the 2018-2019 winter, more than 150,000 children were protected from Iraq's harsh winter by delivery of warm clothing. Although crowded classrooms and displacement of teachers continued to present a challenge,4,600 conflict-affected children have enrolled in formal or non-formal learning since January. Response through RRM has been limited in 2019 due to the lower numbers of newly-displaced people. Data delays in the first two months are have resulted in incomplete partner reporting as of February 2019.

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Funding requirements

UNICEF is requesting nearly US$73 million to meet the humanitarian needs of children in Iraq in 2019. Without adequate and timely funding, UNICEF will be unable to support the national response to the country’s continuing protection crisis or post-conflict needs. This includes critical WASH services for internally displaced persons and returning populations facing the spread of cholera as well as health and nutrition services to ensure children are immunized against childhood diseases, grow and thrive. Basic learning materials and classroom space are urgently needed to uphold children’s right to education. Child-focused cash assistance will support parents and caregivers to feed, clothe and educate children.

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1 Children make up 47 per cent of the population. United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘Iraq: Statistics’, UNICEF, www.unicef.org/infobycountry/iraq_statistics.html#118, accessed 5 December 2018.
2 International Organization for Migration (IOM), Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), February 2019.
3 Ibid.
4 UNOCHA, Iraq, 2019, Humanitarian Needs Overview p 52. "Girls and boys are increasingly out of school in both IDP camps and out-of-camp settings, mainly due to lack of financial means, exposing them to higher child protection risks." The main reason children are left out of education is because households can "not afford to pay the fees". Source: Multi-Cluster Needs Assessment VI (MNCA), 2018.
5 United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) and UNICEF, Iraq Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism, February 2019.
6 Available funds include US$12 million raised against the current appeal and US$18.8 million carried forward from the previous year.
7 Between January and December 2018, the Iraq Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism received 169 reports of grave violations of child rights (of which 139 were verified according to Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism requirements), affecting 177 children (130 children were affected in the 139 verified reports). Verification rates will be updated in the 2019 mid-year Results Assessment Module (RAM) reporting against the Iraq Country Programme targets.
8 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 'Iraq 2019 Humanitarian Needs Overview', OCHA. The Humanitarian Needs Overview document was not finalized/published at the time of writing the original 2019 HAC Appeal. This appeal has been updated to be aligned with the published HNO 2019.
9 Children make up 47 per cent of the population. United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘Iraq: Statistics’, UNICEF, www.unicef.org/infobycountry/iraq_statistics.html#118, accessed 5 December 2018.
10 The total number of people to be reached was calculated based on: UNICEF WASH maximum people to be reached: 972,808 individuals (water supply under cluster objective 4). Adults (18 and above) constitute around 52 per cent of the population = 515,860 adults 18 and above. UNICEF education maximum children (aged 3 to 17 years) to be reached: 200,000 school-aged children (access to formal and non-formal learning), of which an estimated 10 per cent are aged 3 to 4 years old, so a total of 180,000 children aged 5 to 17 years old. UNICEF health and nutrition maximum children under 5 years to be reached (nutrition screening): 363,444 children 5 years and under.
11 This figure is 363,444 children under 5 years screened for malnutrition plus 180,000 children aged 5 to 17 years in need of quality and inclusive formal and non-formal education.
12 Programme targets under the health and child protection response were revised to align with the 2019 Iraq HRP published in early 2019.