© UNICEF/NYHQ2007-2316/Kamber

A girl drags scrap metal through a street in Kirkuk. Although security has improved, ongoing violence and poverty continue to affect 4.5 million Iraqi people within the country and between 500,000 and 1 million Iraqi refugees in bordering countries.

Critical Issues for Children and Women

With some exceptions, the acute emergency phase of the Iraqi humanitarian crisis can be considered over – but pockets of extreme vulnerability remain. Investments within Iraq must shift beyond the distribution of relief items and small-scale rehabilitation, towards addressing more durable solutions for vulnerable communities. The situation for Iraqi families sheltering in neighbouring states also remains precarious. The total number of Iraqis currently residing in neighbouring countries remains unconfirmed and estimates vary between 500,000 and 1 million. Regardless of the numbers, all countries of asylum, have expressed challenges in coping with the influx. With growing economic hardship, and the legal status of many families uncertain, Iraqi communities outside Iraq are showing signs of distress as they increasingly find themselves unable to access productive livelihood opportunities and/or basic social services.

Planned Humanitarian Action for 2010

UNICEF will accelerate its efforts in 2010 in partnership with government counterparts, civil society organiza-tions, United Nations agencies, national and international NGOs and communities themselves to respond to acute vulnerabilities of 4.5 million Iraqis, including over 2 million children, as well as the needs of the esti-mated 500,000–1.5 million Iraqis who are living in temporary shelters and host communities as refugees in four neighbouring countries.  UNICEF will lead coordination efforts among partners in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene and education as well as support inter-agency health, nutrition and protection inter-ventions, and help ensure rapid response to the immediate needs of children created by sudden-onset cri-ses such as disease epidemics, natural disasters or displacement. Following are the expected results of UNICEF emergency interventions:

In Iraq

In 2010, UNICEF is planning to increase access to all essential services for Iraqi children and pregnant and lactating women in a total of 18 locations identified as the most vulnerable or drought-prone.  The focus will be on response and identification of durable solutions for 4.5 million Iraqis, including over 2 million children, in coordination with the Government, international and national NGOs and community-based organizations. 

Health and Nutrition: UNICEF together with the Ministry of Health will provide sufficient rounds of measles vaccines and vitamin A supplements to ensure immunization and micronutrient fortification for 2 million chil-dren under five as well as tetanus vaccines to protect pregnant women against maternal and neonatal teta-nus. Malnourished children will also have improved access to therapeutic and supplementary feeding through technical and logistical support, nutrition surveillance and provision of fortified food supplies.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): UNICEF will respond to the immediate needs of over 2 million children and their families for safe water and sanitation by supporting national partners, including the Minis-try of Municipalities and Public Works, and international and local NGOs.

Education: The overall goal in 2010 is to meet the basic education needs of over 900,000 children in the most vulnerable communities in every governorate of the country.  Access to education will be re-established through the creation of learning spaces and rehabilitation of existing facilities, along with supply of basic materials and furniture, improvements to WASH facilities and back-to-school campaigns.

Child Protection: UNICEF and partners will strengthen monitoring, reporting, prevention and response ser-vices for up to 3 million children, youth and women affected by the extreme forms of abuse and exploitation.

HIV/AIDS: UNICEF and the Ministry of Health will strengthen vulnerable communities’ ability to reduce ex-posure to HIV infection, reaching up to 2 million children, young people and women with messages and ma-terials to encourage behaviour change.

In the Syrian Arab Republic

In 2010, UNICEF will focus on securing access to adequate health and nutrition services and to education for Iraqi refugees and asylum-seekers, as well as on creating a more protective environment for children in emergencies. 

Health and Nutrition:  Supply and distribution of vitamin A and other nutritional supplements, anthropomet-ric equipment and other items such as growth monitoring cards, as well as the establishment of systems for nutrition surveillance, will enhance the nutritional status of all children.  Targeted rounds of immunization and supervisory visits to vaccination sites will ensure 100 per cent coverage of children under five and wide-spread adoption of safe vaccination practices.  

Education: An estimated 50,000 Iraqi children will have improved access to a quality education through the implementation of the Child-friendly School initiative in 500 selected schools and training of approximately 2,500 teachers in child-centred teaching techniques. In addition, water and sanitation facilities at 145 schools and 10 Early Childhood Development centres will be upgraded to offer children a safer learning en-vironment.

Child Protection: UNICEF will continue working with the Government of Jordan and NGOs to improve the well-being and resilience of approximately 3,000 Iraqi children by building the capacity of the Ministry of Education and national NGOs and civil society to identify, monitor, refer and care for children in need of psy-chosocial support.

In Jordan

UNICEF will focus on access to health, education and protection services for all vulnerable Iraqi children living as refugees or asylum-seekers in Jordan. 

Nutrition: A nutrition surveillance system will indentify faltering of early growth and allow health and com-munity workers to provide nutrition counselling where needed.

Education:  Approximately 25,000 Iraqi children will have improved access to education through support to the Ministry of Education to accommodate the increased number of children in public schools in areas with a high concentration of Iraqis, the monitoring of the quality of education using performance indicators, and the deployment of cutting edge computer technology to help the integration of vulnerable children into 14 addi-tional public schools.

Child Protection: UNICEF will continue working with the Government of Jordan and NGOs to improve the well-being and resilience of approximately 3,000 Iraqi children by building the capacity of the Ministry of Education and national NGOs and civil society to identify, monitor, refer and care for children in need of psy-chosocial support.

In Egypt

UNICEF will concentrate its efforts on providing access to essential heath services and sharing of best prac-tices in infant care and young child feeding, psychosocial support and enrolment and retention in schools.

Health and Nutrition: Access to health care for up to 12,000 Iraqi refugees and asylum seekers will be im-proved through the creation of a network of health care providers in areas with high concentrations of Iraqis. The importance of immunization, family care and breastfeeding will be reinforced as a result of the dissemi-nation of information materials.  Psychosocial support will also be provided for affected children and women.

Education:  School attendance rates among 4,000 children will improve as a result of an increased avail-ability of learning materials, training of school managers and teachers to better meet children’s specific edu-cational and psychosocial needs and support for the establishment of ‘catch-up’ classes for at-risk children.

In Lebanon

Education and Child Protection: 2,000 Iraqis and vulnerable Lebanese in host communities will have im-proved access to education and to support for dealing with child labour and other forms of exploitation through community-based integrated programmes.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs to fulfil Core Commitments for Children in 2010 (US$)
Health and Nutrition 6,901,000 650,000 2,000,000 250,000   
Water, Sanitation
and Hygiene (WASH)
9,056,500 -   -   -   -  
Education 4,246,800 5,950,000 6,800,000 250,000 150,000
Child Protection 4,777,600 1,760,000 5,000,000    200,000
Total 24,981,900 8,360,000 13,800,000 500,000 350,000
GRAND TOTAL 47,991,900