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Reaching children in Iraq

Children are especially at risk in Iraq crisis

UNICEF Image: Closeup of a girl; other children behind her
© UNICEF/UN065627/Anmar
Children living in camps for displaced people have to get creative with making their own entertainment. Osama plays on a makeshift rope swing.

Ongoing conflict in Iraq has left a total of 11 million people, including 5.1 million children, in need of humanitarian assistance.

Children make up almost half of the 3 million Iraqis displaced by the conflict. Many of Iraq’s camps are operating beyond capacity, and families live in overcrowded conditions. Children are in danger of separation from their families, abduction, recruitment into the fighting, and sexual violence. Living amidst armed conflict – including exposure to mines and improvised explosive devices – puts them at risk of death and injury, and threatens their long-term mental health and future development.

Meanwhile, damaged and overstretched water and sanitation infrastructure and weakened health systems put children’s health and survival in jeopardy. At least 70 per cent of displaced children have missed a whole year of school.

UNICEF has been working with partners to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of children and families – providing access to safe water and sanitation, education, protection, health and nutrition services. UNICEF also operates Child-Friendly Spaces, where children can find respite through play, learning and psychosocial support, to help them cope with the ordeals they’ve been through.

UNICEF's response with partners in 2016:

  • 1,206,816 emergency affected populations with access to a sufficient safe water supply 
  • 73,797 school-aged children reached through temporary learning spaces
  • 138,881 children participating in structured, sustained, resilience or psychosocial support programmes
  • 5,818,565 children 0-59 months vaccinated against polio in crises affected areas through campaigns


>> Read more about Iraq’s humanitarian needs and UNICEF's work


Watch: Videos from UNICEF Iraq

Playing for peace 

Children uprooted from Mosul

>> See more videos from UNICEF Iraq


Meet: Children and families affected by the crisis


protecting Mosul's children

working for others


water is life

>> Read more stories and perspectives from Iraq


Read: The latest press releases and statements

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake following his visit to Iraq

Schools reopen in East Mosul as violence subsides

Humanitarians fear for the 750,000 civilians in western Mosul

>> See the latest from the UNICEF press centre

For more about UNICEF's work, choose any of the following:

UNICEF Iraq on Medium
UNICEF Iraq Facebook
UNICEF Iraq Twitter
UNICEF Connect blog



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