© UNICEF/NYHQ2008-0632/Kamber

Residents of the Sadr City neighbourhood of Baghdad fled intense fighting in April 2008. The level of sectarian violence has decreased somewhat, though services remain inadequate and millions are still displaced.


2008 saw little easing of the conflict in Iraq. The level of sectarian violence fell below previous peaks but remained high, and there was no significant improvement in the lives of people on the ground. More Iraqis were forced to leave their homes, some 2 million refugees (mainly in Syrian Arab Republic, Jordan, as well as Lebanon and Egypt) and a further 2.2 million internally displaced. While inside Iraq, insecurity has closed schools, eroded access to quality health care and safe water and left many children without caregivers, communities hosting displaced families are being overwhelmed by the influx of new arrivals. The Syrian Arab Republic and Jordan mainly continued to feel the strain of the refugees’ crisis.


UNICEF is sector lead for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and deputy lead for protection and health in Iraq. UNICEF is sector lead in education and leads the psychosocial working group in the child protection sector in Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic. In 2009, UNICEF-supported programmes are expected to reach at least 1,120,000 people in Iraq, 12,000 in Jordan, around 400,000 in the Syrian Arab Republic, 4,000 in Lebanon and 12,000 in Egypt.

Health and Nutrition: UNICEF will increase access to quality primary health care for the most vulnerable children and families; seek to address the primary health and nutrition needs of 180,000 children and their families in the most vulnerable communities in every governorate in Iraq; and work to improve access to and quality of primary health services for 400,000 Iraqi refugees in the Syrian Arab Republic, 4,000 in Lebanon and 12,000 in Egypt.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: UNICEF will work to increase access to safe and reliable water and sanitation services for the most vulnerable Iraqi communities; seek to address the immediate water and sanitation needs of 360,000 children and their families in the most vulnerable communities inside Iraq. In the Syrian Arab Republic, UNICEF will endeavour to increase by 15 per cent the water production in Rural Damascus, targeting about 75,000 people in the Sayeda Zainab area.

Education: UNICEF will reach a total of 150,000 children in the most vulnerable communities in every Iraqi governorate with basic education interventions; seek to address the basic education needs of 12,000 children through formal, informal and remedial activities in Jordan; increase the number of Iraqi children in Syrian schools from 49,000 to 75,000; and support the school enrolment of 4,000 Iraqi children in Egypt.

Child Protection: UNICEF will work to improve prevention and response strategies and services for children and young people affected by violence, and enhance the protection of children through the development of mechanisms for monitoring, reporting and responding to child rights’ violations. UNICEF will seek to address the most urgent protection needs of 29,800 children and women inside Iraq; provide psychosocial support to around 3,000 children in Jordan; and to 26,000 children, 3,250 mothers and 6,000 adolescents in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2009*
Country Iraq Jordan Syrian Arab Republic Lebanon Egypt
Sector US$
Health and Nutrition 8,138,000 - 3,750,000 438,700 250,000
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 10,680,000 - - -
Education 5,008,000 9,278,562 8,000,000 650,000 200,000
Child Protection 5,634,000 4,000,000 5,650,000
Total** 29,460,000 13,278,562 17,400,000 1,088,700 450,000

* Funds received against this appeal will be used to respond to both the immediate and medium-term needs of children and women as outlined above. If UNICEF should receive funds in excess of the medium-term funding requirements for this emergency, UNICEF will use those funds to support other, underfunded emergencies.
** The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.