After years of conflict, schools reopen and hope returns to Fallujah
FALLUJAH, Iraq, 27 December 2016 – The walls of Fallujah are scarred with bullet holes. Six months ago, 85,000 people fled the city as bombs fell on their houses in the fight to retake the city. Many others had escaped earlier.
First UNICEF-led interagency aid convoy reaches Mosul
MOSUL, Iraq, 15 November 2016 – I was talking to 10-year-old Maryam when a rocket exploded to our left. It was still a way off, but it was loud and I jumped.
Displaced children in Iraq tell their stories
DEBAGA CAMP, Erbil, Iraq, 26 October 2016 – There are more than 16,000 children in Debaga Camp, displaced from various areas in northern Iraq. Many of these children have lived under the so-called Islamic State and walked long hours with their families to reach safety.
A healthy start for babies born in displacement camps in Iraq
DEBAGA CAMP, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, 16 September 2016 – On a late summer morning, Debaga camp is thronged with people. The camp was built to house around 5,000 individuals, but the population has grown to more than 36,000 in less than six months as displacement increases from villages and towns near the city of Mosul.
Preparing for the deluge, a camp in Iraq is quickly built from scratch
DEBAGA, Iraq, 9 August 2016 – On the outskirts of a dusty village in Iraq, a city is springing into existence. Hundreds of people arrive at Debaga displacement camp every day.
Cash assistance helps Syrian children in Iraq catch up on education
ERBIL, Iraq, 27 June 2016 – “Isra had missed out on a year of her education by the time she arrived here,” says Sirwan, deputy principal of Tarin School. “But she’s a very good student. It’s good that she’s back in class.”
A young Iraqi uses talent and compassion to face an unfair life
ERBIL, Iraq, 25 November 2015 – “I like rap music. I can express myself and send a message. I can scream a bit and shout it out, but at the same time, it’s useful and it can help people.”
In Iraq, taking steps to stamp out cholera
DOHUK, Iraq, 9 November 2015 – In Domiz refugee camp in Dohuk, northern Iraq, Elhani is gathering a group of very excited schoolchildren and having them stand in a circle. It’s Global Handwashing Day, and normal classes at Kobani primary school have been suspended for a while as children learn an equally important lesson: how to prevent cholera.
Child-friendly spaces aid recovery in Iraq
DOHUK GOVERNATE, Iraq, 28 October 2015 – Besma* is only 9 years old, yet she has survived an ordeal no child should ever have to face. After their village in Iraq’s Sinjar district was taken over by armed groups in August last year, she and her family were held captive for months. Besma and her aunt were eventually released, but her mother, father, sister and two brothers are still missing.
In Iraq, building a team on the field and off
DOHUK, Iraq, 16 September 2015 – The two young men are from different parts of Iraq, have different religious and ethnic backgrounds, and they can’t even agree on who is the best football player in the world.
Iraq: “I couldn’t imagine that we were finally united.”
ERBIL, Iraq, 30 July 2015 – Farhan, 3, looks like any toddler, splashing about in a tiny plastic paddling pool, his arms darkened by the sun and a mischievous glint in his eye. More than a month has passed since Farhan and his parents came to a displacement camp in the Kurdish Region of Iraq.
In Iraq, getting water to go uphill
QASHAFAR, Iraq, 9 June 2015 – On a high plateau near the city of Dohuk, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) officers had a dilemma: 25 displaced families living in unfinished buildings had no access to clean water.
In Iraq, water brings relief
ERBIL, Iraq, June 2015 – “It’s a very difficult situation,” says Hadija, sitting outside her tent with her three grandchildren. Hadija has come to Baherka displacement camp from Nabi Younis in Mosul. For eight months, she’s been living in the camp with her five children and her grandchildren.
Among Iraq’s displaced, creating safe spaces for children
ERBIL, Iraq, 11 May 2015 – A broom sweeps across concrete. Low chatter. Dishes scrubbed with a rough wire brush. An errant soccer ball bounds off a wall. These are the day-to-day sounds of life among a group of 35 Iraqi families from Qaraqosh, the largest Christian city in northern Iraq, who have fled their homes and have taken refuge in a school in Erbil.
After fleeing violence, Iraq’s displaced children face a deadly winter
MANGESH, Iraq, 28 October 2014 – When her village near Sinjar mountain was attacked last summer, 11-year-old Zeynab fled with her family to the Kurdistan region, where many Iraqis and Syrians have sought refuge from fierce fighting that has taken an enormous toll on civilians.
Displaced in northern Iraq, a mother protects her children
ZAKHO, Iraq, 5 Sept 2014 – A month ago, Shaha and her eight children made a long and perilous journey before arriving in this camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in an area called Warga Dalal.
Reaching children in Iraq
Amid the crowds sheltering in a school, a displaced Iraqi girl dreams of home
SINJAR, Iraq, 22 July 2014 – The Zarifa Usi school, where Marwa now lives, is a far cry from the Golden Dunes school, where she used to study.
Vital UNICEF supplies airlifted to Syrian Arab Republic
A Syrian girl is born in northern Iraq
SULIMANIYAH, Iraq, 6 December 2013 – Baby Jian came into the world just one day after her mother arrived in Arbat refugee camp in northern Iraq.
As winter sets in, essential supplies arrive for Syrian refugee children in Iraq
ERBIL, Iraq, 4 December 2013 – UNICEF has received its first shipment of winter clothing and shoes for Syrian refugee children in Iraq. Two truckloads of supplies came from Turkey, which UNICEF will assemble into complete kits to be distributed in the refugee camps in northern Iraq.
In Iraq, meeting the needs of Syrian refugees living with disabilities
SULIMANIYAH, Iraq, 29 November 2013 – There are nearly 2,500 Syrians living in Arbat refugee camp just outside of Sulimaniyah, and many of them, like Suliman Gorgis’s family, live with disabilities.
“Where is my copybook and where is my pen?”
ERBIL, Iraq, 14 November 2013 – Wafa has six children, and
one of them, nine-year-old Ciber, is deaf and mute. The family lives in Kawergosk refugee camp. In
their old life in Damascus – before the Syrian conflict drove them from their
home – Cibar was studying in school and planning to become a teacher of
children with special needs.
Syrian refugee boys snatch a glimpse of normality through football tournament in Sulimaniyah, Iraq
SULIMANIYAH, Iraq, 5 November 2013 – It’s a sight you see all over the world on a Saturday afternoon – boys lined up in their football uniforms, getting ready to go onto the pitch.
New programme in Iraq aims to bring education, and hope, to children in prison
BASRA, Iraq, 4 November 2013 – Mohamed is the oldest of six children. In primary school, he was among the best students in his class.
In northern Iraq, 12-year-old Dima finds a glimmer of hope in a tent school for Syrian refugees
ERBIL, Iraq, 29 October 2013 – Dima, 12, dreams of becoming a doctor.
Field diary: Two Syrian refugees in Iraq’s Kawergosk camp at risk of becoming 'lost schoolgirls'
ERBIL, Iraq, 21 October 2013 – “She’s so smart,” Warfa says of her daughter, Cibar, 9, as she tries to help her to remember the English alphabet. Cibar can only get to ‘C’.
Health volunteers help mothers and their newborn babies in Kawergosk refugee camp, Iraq
ERBIL, Iraq, 18 October 2013 – Berevan Yusaf Tamo, a Syrian refugee, is far from home. About a month ago, she crossed the Iraqi border, heavily pregnant.
Secondary education critical so Syrian youth won't feel lost, stresses UNICEF Iraq's Maulid Warfa
ERBIL, Iraq, 16 October 2013 – Visiting a refugee camp is a very personal experience for Maulid Warfa.
A Syrian mother sheltering in Iraqi Kurdistan wants just two things for her young daughters - peace, and to return home
ERBIL, Iraq, 9 October 2013 – Shereen’s younger child is named Ayenda, which, she says, means ‘future’.
Amid an uncertain future, Syrian children attend a newly opened school in Iraq's Baherka refugee camp
ERBIL, Iraq, 4 October 2013 – Imagine what it’s like to sit idle all day, with trauma behind you, and uncertainty ahead.
New schools in new camps in Kurdistan Region of Iraq bring new hopes for Syrian refugees
ERBIL, Iraq, 4 October 2013 – It’s been nearly two months since the government in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq reopened its borders to accept refugees fleeing conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic. Some 63,000 Syrian people have crossed the border since mid-August.
Field diary: Two children of Kawergosk refugee camp, Iraqi Kurdistan
ERBIL, Iraq, 20 September 2013 – The story of Erbil is a long one. Urban life is believed to have begun here some 7,000 years ago, which puts it among the oldest continuously inhabited cities on Earth.
Kurdish students help prepare Syrian refugee children's return to school in northern Iraq
SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq, 17 September 2013 – It’s over 40 °C in the new Arbat refugee camp in northern Iraq. But, the heat hasn’t stopped dozens of young Syrian refugee children from lining up for something they’ve been eagerly looking forward to – the first day of school.
Pau Gasol visits Syrian refugee children in Iraq
DOMIZ CAMP, Iraq, 30 July 2013 – Two-time NBA champion Lakers player and UNICEF Spain Ambassador since 2003 Pau Gasol has returned today from visiting Domiz, a refugee camp in Iraq that provides shelter to more than 45,000 Syrian refugees who have fled their country seeking safety from the deadly conflict. Upon arriving in Barcelona, he offered a press conference to share his experience in what was his fifth visit to the field as a UNICEF Spain Ambassador.
In Domiz refugee camp, Iraq, a Syrian family makes the best of a terrible situation
DOMIZ CAMP, Iraq, 5 July 2013 – “In Syria,” Mahmoud said, his eyes watering with the memory, “we lived like kings and queens.” And then he fell silent.
Protecting children, in Domiz refugee camp, Iraq
DOMIZ CAMP, Iraq, 27 June 2013 – You drive over the mountains that surround Dohuk City, and Domiz refugee camp opens up before you – a community of 45,000 people that wasn’t there just a year ago.
With a rising refugee population, a camp at risk of disease
DOMIZ, Iraq, 22 May 2013 – The Domiz refugee camp, which sits about 60 kilometres from the Syrian border amidst an imposing mountain landscape, was originally built to accommodate 22,000 people. Today it is home to around 40,000 Syrian refugees.
In Iraq, vaccination campaign reaches thousands of Syrian refugees
DOHUK, IRAQ, 29 April 2013 – “I have just taken my shots, and I did not cry!” says the girl to her brothers and sisters. She holds an ice cream in her hand.
Summer school at a refugee camp for Syrians in Iraq gives children a sense of stability
DOHUK, Iraq, 22 August 2012- The first thing that strikes you as you walk into the Domiz refugee camp is the number of children – running, playing or just sitting by their tents. When I mention this to the local camp administrator, he tells me that almost all the Syrian refugee families that have been registered here are young; no family members are over 50.
Mine-risk education protects children from explosives in Iraq
NEW YORK, USA, 10 April 2012 – On a rainy day in 2000, in a village outside Erbil, Iraq, 6-year-old Karzan Mukhlis was walking home when a blast tore through the town square, striking him and another boy.
New UNICEF Iraq Ambassador Kadhum Al-Sahir highlights needs of the most deprived
BAGHDAD, Iraq, 9 May 2011 – Today, the Iraqi singer acclaimed worldwide as one of the great artists of contemporary Arabic music, Kadhum Al-Sahir, was appointed as the first-ever UNICEF Iraq Ambassador. Returning to Iraq for the first time in 14 years, Mr. Al-Sahir highlighted the need to focus on equity for Iraq’s most deprived children.
UNICEF Syria supports vocational training centre for adolescent refugees at risk
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 22 June 2010 – Rana came to Syria in 2005. She and her family joined the ever-increasing Iraqi community in the Jaramana suburbs of Damascus. Heavily dependent on humanitarian aid and deprived of any regular income, the family exhausted their savings last year, and Rana’s parents had to return to Iraq temporarily.
Poverty, conflict and girls' right to education
New York, USA, 20 May 2010 – More than half of the 72 million primary school-aged children out of school are girls. These children mostly come from the world’s poorest communities and, in many cases, from nations with long histories of conflict.
Iraq completes first-ever National Immunization Week
BAGHDAD, Iraq, 6 May 2010 – Against a difficult backdrop of conflict and insecurity, important gains have been made by Iraq’s first-ever National Immunization Week. Targeting children under the age of five who had not been properly immunized, events held across the country led to greater health awareness and education.
'Capoeira therapy' brings joy to Iraqi children at a refugee camp in Syria
AL-TANF REFUGEE CAMP, Syria, 12 March 2010 – The closure in February of the Al-Tanf refugee camp on the Syrian-Iraqi border ends one of the most painful chapters in the post-war story of Iraq’s refugee community.
UNICEF and Iraqi Government strategize on saving and improving children’s lives
BAGHDAD, Iraq, 10 March 2010 – UNICEF’s Iraq office recently held a strategic meeting with its official counterparts in Baghdad to define the theme and parameters of the office’s 2011-14 Country Programme of Cooperation with the Government of Iraq.
Child-friendly spaces bring hope to Iraqi refugee children in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syria, 10 February 2009 – With as many as 1.5 million Iraqi refugees in Syria, it is a struggle to provide basic necessities for people who have left everything behind in their war-torn country. In this setting, the special needs of children can be overlooked.
Children of Iraq make an ‘Appeal’ to government leaders
BAGDHAD, Iraq, 12 December 2008 – The Iraq Children’s Appeal, crafted by and for young people, was launched in Baghdad recently, as part of a special project between UNICEF and the non-governmental organization Al-Amal to help promote a culture of children’s rights in Iraq
Young Iraqi filmmaker wins 'OneMinutesJr.' Award
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, 11 December 2008 – Mohammed Majid al-Ghazali, age 15, is an Iraqi currently living in Jordan. He just won the 2008 'OneMinutesJr.' award. His winning film, Accident, was produced during a UNICEF 'OneMinutesJr.' workshop in Amman, Jordan, where youth were asked to make films that reflected the rights from the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
UNICEF and Nokia partner to rebuild eight schools in Iraq
AMMAN, Jordan, 20 October 2008 – The Nokia mobile communications company and UNICEF have launched a unique public-private partnership for children in Iraq to rebuild eight primary schools affected by conflict, displacement and poverty.
Classrooms in Syria crowded with Iraqi children whose families have fled conflict
DAMASCUS, Syria, 25 September 2008 – It is the beginning of the new school year in Syria, but a majority of the students are not Syrian. They are Iraqis whose families have fled conflict. When the lives of children like these are turned upside down, going to school can provide the stability they need.
‘Beyond School Books’ – a podcast series on education in emergencies
NEW YORK, USA, 15 September 2008 – The ongoing conflict in Iraq continues to have a devastating impact on children and schools there. Insecurity and violence have forced teachers to flee, kept students at home and, in some cases, closed schools completely.
UNICEF Iraq helps the children of Sadr City regroup after intense violence
NEW YORK, USA, 20 June 2008 – Forty days of recent intense violence took a toll on close to 1 million children in Baghdad’s Sadr City, which is home to 2.5 million Iraqis. During April and May, the streets of the sprawling neighbourhood turned into a battlefield – trapping children in their homes without access to water, school or play areas.
In the wake of violence, working to repair the damage done to children’s schools and confidence
AMMAN, Jordan, 23 May 2008 – The Baghdad Girls Primary in Iraq’s Sadr City had only been occupied by students for a few months before violent clashes erupted between military forces and militia groups in the area.
Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict calls for action on child rights in Iraq
NEW YORK, USA, 2 May 2008 – The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, has called for immediate action to improve the lives of Iraqi children.
Violence in Iraq disrupts lives and education
AMMAN, Jordan, 21 April 2008 – Over the last two weeks, families in Basra and Baghdad’s Sadr City have been plunged into one of the most violent episodes in Iraq’s recent history. As Iraq’s security forces mobilized against militia groups, widespread clashes and curfews kept families trapped indoors and led to shortages of water, food and medical supplies.
Landmine awareness protects Iraq's children against deadly reminders of war
AMMAN, Jordan, 4 April 2008 – Thanks to UNICEF-supported Mine Risk Education (MRE), 12-year old Lateef from Kirkuk knows danger can be buried underneath his feet.
UNICEF responds to critical needs with water tankers in Basra crisis
AMMAN, Jordan, 31 March 2008 – For children in an Iraqi city paralyzed by violence, the arrival of a UNICEF water tanker in their street was an unexpected miracle. Thirsty families queued for up to two hours to fill whatever containers they could. For some, it was the first fresh water they had seen in days.
Iraq’s water and sanitation crisis adds to dangers faced by children and families
BAGHDAD, Iraq, 19 March 2008 – Iraq has a large water and sanitation network, but it is in a critical state of disrepair. System failures are a daily fact of life.
UNICEF appeals for $37 million to save vulnerable Iraqi children
AMMAN, Jordan, 12 February 2008 – Iraq’s children saw little respite from violence and instability in 2007. But help may be on the way. A consolidated appeal for Iraq will be launched today to help humanitarian organizations respond to widespread suffering and deprivation.
Iraqi children share their experience in film about friends separated by conflict
NEW YORK, USA, 3 January 2008 – Even amidst the security challenges facing children in Iraq every day, a group of young people there have found a way to create a poignant short film about life in Baghdad.
Iraqi children celebrate their return to school
AMMAN, Jordan, 9 October 2007— The first day back at school for students at Baghdad’s Al-Amal Primary School is a reason to celebrate. Children squeal with excitement as they see old friends. The playground, so bare and empty over the summer holidays, has filled with colour and sound.
National polio drive delivers drops of hope amid insecurity in Iraq
AMMAN, Jordan, 28 September 2007 – As Iraq’s first National Immunization Days of 2007 get under way, over 20,000 mobile polio vaccinators are uniting in a titanic effort to reach as many as 5 million Iraqi children under the age of five.
Holding back cholera in Iraq to protect thousands at risk
AMMAN, Jordan, 25 September 2007 – It was the news that many had been dreading all summer. On 14 August, a man suffering from acute watery diarrhoea in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk was confirmed to have cholera. Despite emergency control measures, the disease spread like wildfire and has quickly become Iraq’s biggest outbreak in recent memory.
Afrah’s story: Recovering a childhood lost on the streets of Baghdad
AMMAN, Jordan, 31 August 2007 – Afrah and her brother Bilal were barely teenagers when they were left to fend for themselves on the streets of Baghdad. Shy and awkward, the young brother and sister still carry the scars of their frightening separation from their family.
Child-friendly journalism gives young people a voice in Iraq
AMMAN, Jordan, 29 June 2007 – Mohammad’s TV show, ‘Sabah El Kheir Mosul’ (Good Morning Mosul), is different than most Iraqi news programmes. To balance the grim daily reports of bombings and violence, Mohammad, 28, is trying a new focus – the lives of children.
Jordan’s Queen Rania issues UNICEF’s worldwide call to action to aid Iraqi children
NEW YORK, USA, 23 May 2007 – Women and children are often the ones who bear the greatest burden of the turbulence and violence that comes with conflict.
Despite dangers, measles vaccinators fan out across Iraq
AMMAN, Jordan, 26 April 2007 – In one of the biggest humanitarian operations in Iraq in the last two years, 8,000 vaccinators are working to prevent a possible outbreak of measles among children, many of whom have not received routine immunization due to violence and conflict.
Despite dangers, an Iraqi mother is determined to educate herself and her children
NEW YORK, USA, 28 March 2007 – Nada, 40, lives in Baghdad with her husband and four children – two boys and two girls, all school age. “Our life is a hard life,” Nada (not her real name) told UNICEF Radio in a telephone interview.
Lack of safe water endangers the health of Baghdad’s most deprived children
AMMAN, Jordan, 21 March 2007 – For thousands of Iraqis living in crudely built cabins in the Baghdad slums of Sab’ Qsoor, a safe drink of water used to be almost impossible to find. The area has only a few pipes to supply municipal water, and many of them are broken or contaminated.
Displaced with her family in northern Iraq, a girl dreams of education
NEW YORK, USA, 19 March 2007 – Sheelan, 14, has never gone to school. Neither have any of her seven older sisters. Her family is Kurdish and has been displaced for two decades, ever since the Iran-Iraq War.
For a young Iraqi woman, a second chance to learn and grow
WASSIT, Iraq, 9 March 2007 - In a small classroom in southern Iraq, Reem (not her real name), 22, is bent over her books. The stifling air is making it hard to concentrate, but she is determined to finish the lesson. She knows the few hours she spends here could determine the course of the rest of her life.
On International Women’s Day, an Iraqi mother and daughter stay focused on education
NEW YORK, USA, 7 March 2007 – As the 51st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women comes to close at the United Nations on 8 March, International Women’s Day, women and girls around the world struggle to make ends meet, get an education and stay safe. One of the places where these challenges are most acute is Iraq, where ongoing violence has become the norm.
Syria tightens entry requirements for Iraqi refugees as population pressure builds
NEW YORK, USA, 21 February 2007 – As Syria tightens entry regulations for refugees crossing the border from Iraq, UNICEF and its partners continue to advocate for humanitarian exceptions to the rules.
School restoration campaign builds hubs of stability in Iraq
NEW YORK, USA, 15 February 2007 – Schools are becoming critical hubs of stability within Iraq, thanks to a UNICEF-supported restoration programme designed to stem school closures and growing drop-out rates.
Improving antenatal care for mothers and newborns in Iraq
AMMAN, Jordan, 30 January 2007 – For Nadtha, 21, her last few months of pregnancy were an anxious time. With one toddler demanding attention and another baby on the way, Nadtha was worried about how she would cope with the demands of her growing family. She wanted to be reassured that the delivery would go smoothly and that her baby would be healthy.
Five girls killed in mortar attack on school in Baghdad
NEW YORK, USA, 29 January 2007 – At least five schoolgirls were killed in Baghdad yesterday when two mortars hit their high school.
UNICEF mourns the loss of Iraq staff member Janan Jabero, 1954-2007
AMMAN, Jordan, 10 January 2007 – On the last day of 2006, UNICEF staff engineer Janan Jabero, 52, left his house in Baghdad to go see a friend. He never made it. Several days later, his family and colleagues learned that he had been found shot to death in his car.
Samira’s story: Despite dangers, vaccinators fight to keep Iraq polio-free
BAGHDAD, Iraq, 15 December 2006 – Iraq’s fourth national polio campaign of 2006 is sending thousands of Iraqi vaccinators from house to house, to immunize children at their doorsteps.
Despite challenges, early childhood development efforts move forward in Iraq
AMMAN, Jordan, 20 October 2006 – The volatile security situation in Iraq, the difficulties of managing UNICEF country programmes from afar and the high turnover of counterparts in the government there all pose major challenges to the development of an Iraqi national policy on early childhood development, or ECD.
Football brings welcome relief for young people in Iraq
NEW YORK, USA, 7 July 2006 – Despite the violence and chaos that have plagued Iraq in recent years (not to mention the sporadic supply of electricity), Iraqi football fans have been riveted by TV broadcasts of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Iraqi children still committed to education despite ongoing violence
Iraq, 31 March 2005 - At the end of each school day, Selma Abbas, a veteran Iraqi teacher, prays that she will see her students return safely the next day.
Achievements in education and water supply highlight UNICEF’s continuing work in Iraq
NEW YORK, 2 February 2005 - In the last year UNICEF has managed to deliver $80 million of aid to children in Iraq – often in extremely dangerous and difficult circumstances. The greatest advances have taken place in education, but UNICEF has also supplied around 2 million litres of clean water each day for Iraqi children and families in need.
UNICEF on CNN about Iraq
UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy was a guest last Saturday on CNN’s Larry King show. Among the issues she discussed were efforts to protect children and how UNICEF is working to help meet the needs of children in Iraq.