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Iraq
UNICEF photo: Girl students in a classroom © UNICEF Iraq/2019/Anmar "Without water, it is difficult for school to continue,” says 11-year-old Zaynab, who studies at Al Zohur School, Basrah.

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: 6.55 million9
Total children (<18) in need: 3.08 million10

Total people to be reached: 1,039,30411
Total children to be reached: 543,44412

More than 6.5 million people in Iraq, including 3 million children under 18 years, will need humanitarian assistance in 2019.1 Although armed violence has declined, and over 4 million people are returning to their homes,2 1.9 million people, including 900,000 children, remain displaced. Over 30 per cent of displaced children live in camps,3 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. In some areas, over 90 per cent of school-aged children lack access to learning.4 Girls, boys and women who have survived gender-based violence require specialized services to recover and reengage with their families and communities.5 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, 130 children have suffered grave violations of their rights, including killing, maiming and recruitment into armed groups.6 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
  • 22,038 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 programmes
  • 7,000 at-risk girls and boys receiving case management services
  • 10,474 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 capacity building 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 will use its leadership position to strengthen the capacities of humanitarian partners to reach crisis-affected children, and will continue to integrate gender-based violence risk mitigation into all programming. With the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UNICEF will maintain 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 will be supported in camps, host communities and retaken areas. Children under 5 years will receive immunization and nutrition services, especially in low-coverage areas. UNICEF will 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. UNICEF and partners will conduct cash-based interventions and support capacity building for longer-term recovery. Recovery actions will complement the United Nations Recovery and Resilience Programme in Iraq and the UNICEF Recovery and Resilience for Children appeal.

Results from 2018

As of 31 October 2018, UNICEF had US$96 million available against the US$101.2 million appeal (95 per cent funded).7 First-line RRM deliveries decreased in 2018 due to the lower numbers of newly displaced people. UNICEF continued critical water and sanitation interventions for almost 960,000 conflict-affected people in camps, return locations and vulnerable host communities. Child protection teams deepened community-based psychosocial support services for nearly 149,000 children, and some 85,000 people attended awareness-raising sessions on child protection, which built sustainable local skills to meet children’s needs. Iraq’s Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism, which gathers data on grave violations of children’s rights, verified 83 per cent of all reports, supporting evidence-based advocacy.8 More than 1.2 million children were vaccinated against polio and measles through campaigns targeting low coverage areas. More than 133,000 growth monitoring sessions took place for children under 5 years, and over 16,600 mothers improved their knowledge of infant feeding practices. Although crowded classrooms and displacement of teachers continued to present a challenge, accelerated learning curricula and catch-up classes helped out-of-school children access or re-access learning. Despite funding constraints, UNICEF cash assistance developed based on joint United Nations vulnerability assessments helped to reduce barriers to learning for over 3,900 children.

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Funding requirements

UNICEF is requesting 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, 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 Ibid.
3 Iraq Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster, ‘Iraq: CCCM Mosul camps new arrivals monitoring from 12 January to 30 September 2018’, CCCM, 30 September 2018.
4 United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘The Costs and Benefit of Education in Iraq: An analysis of the education sector and strategies to maximize the benefits of education’, UNICEF, 2017.
5 United Nations Population Fund Iraq, Gender-Based Violence Sub-Cluster, ‘GBV Assessment’, UNFPA, 2016, www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/iraq/assessment/gbvassessment, accessed 5 December 2018.
6 United Nations Children’s Fund and United Nations Mission in Iraq, Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism Database, 2018.
7 Available funds include US$67.1 million raised against the current appeal and US$28.9 million carried forward from the previous year.
8 In 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).
9 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Iraq: 2019 Humanitarian Needs Overview’, OCHA, 2018. The Humanitarian Needs Overview document was not finalized/published at the time of writing this appeal. The appeal will be updated to be aligned with the published Humanitarian Needs Overview, once finalized.
10 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.
11 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.
12 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.
13 Health budget: US$3.9 million; nutrition budget: US$1.9 million.
14 Child protection total includes US$4 million for prevention and response to gender-based violence.