Escalating violence and massive population displacements have intensified the ongoing crisis in Iraq. Now 10 million Iraqis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, almost half are children.
Here journalists can access the latest news and resources on the situation for children and UNICEF’s response.
Contact our media teams in Iraq, Amman, New York and Geneva to speak to UNICEF experts.
1.5 million vulnerable children in the Middle East threatened as winter approaches
AMMAN, 26 October 2017 – The coming winter is the latest threat to children affected by crises in the Middle East. As UNICEF races to provide warm clothing, winter supplies and blankets before the cold sets in, the organisation is facing a $60 million gap that could leave up to 1.5 million children exposed to the cold.
Abused, exploited and abandoned - Children caught up in violence in Mosul and conflicts in the region need immediate care and protection
AMMAN, 22 July 2017 – “The worst of the violence in Mosul may be over but for too many children in Mosul and in the region, extreme suffering continues.
Mosul’s children, sick, alone, wounded and scarred, are in urgent need of assistance and protection
BAGHDAD, 13 July 2017 – “Although the battle for Mosul is coming to an end, children’s deep physical and mental scars will take time to heal. Some 650,000 boys and girls, who have lived through the nightmare of violence in Mosul, have paid a terrible price and endured many horrors over the past three years.
UNICEF calls for the protection of children trapped in west Mosul’s violence
BAGHDAD, 29 June 2017 – “Thousands of children continue to be trapped in relentless violence in West Mosul’s Old City neighborhoods as the fighting heavily intensified over the past hours.
Nowhere To Go: Children in Iraq trapped in cycles of violence and poverty as conflict reaches unprecedented levels
BAGHDAD/NEW YORK, 22 June 2017 - Three years since the intensification of violence in Iraq, children are trapped in an endless cycle of violence and increasing poverty, according to a UNICEF assessment, Nowhere to Go.
100,000 children threatened as conflict escalates in west Mosul
ERBIL, 5 June, 2017 – “We are receiving alarming reports of civilians including several children being killed in west Mosul. Some were reportedly killed as they desperately tried to flee the fighting which is intensifying by the hour.
From cholera in Yemen to attacks on hospitals in Syria, conflict threatens lives of over 24 million children in the Middle East and North Africa
AMMAN, 24 May 2017 – Violence and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa have put in jeopardy the health of 24 million children in Yemen, Syria, the Gaza Strip, Iraq, Libya and Sudan. Damage to health infrastructure is depriving children of essential health care. Water and sanitation services have been compromised, causing waterborne diseases to spread while preventative health care and nutritious food are insufficient to meet children’s needs.
Without urgent investment in education, Iraq’s future generations risk being left behind
BAGHDAD 21 May, 2017 – The future of Iraq, its economic security and prosperity depends on increasing investment in education today.
At least one in four children live in poverty in the Middle East and North Africa
RABAT, 15 May 2017 – According to a recent UNICEF analysis covering 11 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, poverty continues to impact at least 29 million children – one in four children in the region. These children are deprived of the minimum requirements in two or more of the most basic life necessities including basic education, decent housing, nutritious food, quality health care, safe water, sanitation and access to information.
Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake following his visit to Iraq
BAGHDAD, 22 March 2017 – “I leave Iraq at a time when the country is facing significant challenges and opportunities.
UNICEF seeks $3.3 billion in emergency assistance for 48 million children caught up in conflict and other crises
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 31 January 2017 – 48 million children living through some of the world’s worst conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies will benefit from UNICEF’s 2017 appeal, which was launched today.
Schools reopen in East Mosul as violence subsides
BAGHDAD, 24 January, 2017 — As fighting subsides in East Mosul, 30 schools reopened on Sunday with help from UNICEF, allowing over 16,000 children to resume their education.
Humanitarians fear for the 750,000 civilians in western Mosul
BAGHDAD, 24 January 2017 - 100 days after military operations to retake Mosul started, humanitarian partners are expressing deep concern about the plight of the estimated 750,000 civilians who are currently living in the western sections of the city where fighting is expected to start in coming weeks.
Winter is the latest threat to children living on the brink across the Middle East
AMMAN, 20 December 2016 – Unseasonably cold temperatures and winter weather are sweeping across the Middle East, threatening millions of children affected by crisis in the region. UNICEF is facing a $38 million funding gap as it races to provide life-saving assistance – including warm clothing, blankets and winter supplies - to children and families as the cold settles in.
UN provides vital food and aid to 42,000 people in eastern Mosul
BAGHDAD – 9 December 2016 In the single largest humanitarian aid delivery in eastern Mosul since the current conflict began, the World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) yesterday provided food, dignity kits, water purification tablets, jerry cans, baby hygiene kits and more for 42,000 people in eastern Mosul. For the first time in over two weeks, security conditions have allowed humanitarian agencies to reach families living in the suburbs of eastern Mosul, many of whom are in desperate need of assistance.
Almost half of Mosul’s children cut off from clean water as fighting intensifies - UNICEF
BAGHDAD, 30 November 2016 – Nearly 300,000 children in Mosul – almost half of all the children in the city – and their families have reportedly been cut off from access to clean water after a major water pipeline was destroyed amid the ongoing conflict.
Massive humanitarian needs one month since start of military operations to retake Mosul
BAGHDAD, Iraq, 17 November 2016 – Today marks one month of intensified military operations to retake the city of Mosul. With tens of thousands of families in newly retaken areas urgently requiring life-saving assistance, the humanitarian community in Iraq faces a massive scope of need. These latest developments further exacerbate a humanitarian crisis in a country where 10 million people already were in need of aid.
UNICEF leads convoy into Mosul city with emergency supplies for 15,000 children
BAGHDAD Iraq, 15 November 2016 — A UNICEF-led multi-agency humanitarian convoy was on Sunday the first to enter the Iraqi city of Mosul together with WFP and UNFPA.
Statement attributable to Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Iraq on the children of Mosul
ERBIL, 4 November 2016 – “An estimated 2,500 children and their families have arrived in the past 24 hours at camps south east of Mosul as Iraqi forces today for the first time entered the city streets and intensified their battle to retake Mosul.
9,700 children displaced since start of Mosul operation – UNICEF
BAGHDAD/NEW YORK, 3 November 2016 – Some 20,700 people have been displaced since the operation to retake Mosul started on 17 October. UNICEF estimates that 9,700 of them are children in urgent need of assistance.
Major campaign launched to immunize 5.8 million Iraqi children against polio
BAGHDAD, Iraq, 24 October 2016 – A five-day polio vaccination campaign is under way in Iraq to reach an estimated 5.8 million children below the age of five in Iraq, regardless of previous vaccination status.
Keep children safe in Mosul operation, UNICEF says
BAGHDAD, 17 October 2016 – More than half a million children and their families in Mosul will be at extreme risk in the coming weeks, UNICEF warned today as a military operation to retake the northern Iraqi city gets under way.
UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor visits refugee and displaced children on Iraq frontline
LONDON/ERBIL, 2 August 2016 – UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor travelled to northern Iraq last week to see how the conflicts sweeping across Iraq and Syria are devastating children’s lives. Tens of thousands of children have been killed, injured, separated from their parents, forced to work, tortured and recruited into fighting.
UNICEF Statement on the Killings of Children and Families in Baghdad
BAGHDAD, 3 July 2016— At least 125 people were reportedly killed and hundreds wounded, many of them children, in two separate bombings in Baghdad early this morning.
Iraq Crisis: 3.6 million children now at risk from increasing violence
BAGHDAD/AMMAN, 30 June 2016 - 3.6 million children in Iraq – one in five in the country - are at serious risk of death, injury, sexual violence, abduction and recruitment into armed groups, according to a new UNICEF report.
“We came with nothing, we have nothing”: Thousands flee Fallujah as fighting intensifies
BAGHDAD, 6 June 2016 – The UN and partners are in a race against time to provide life-saving assistance to people fleeing escalating violence in Anbar, particularly around the battle for Fallujah
Iraq: UNICEF calls for protection of the children of Fallujah
BAGHDAD, 1 June 2016 – “As the violence continues to escalate in Fallujah and across Iraq, we are concerned over the protection of children in the face of extreme and rising danger.
1 in 3 Syrian children has grown up knowing only crisis as conflict reaches 5 year point – UNICEF
AMMAN/NEW YORK, 14 March 2016 - An estimated 3.7 million Syrian children – 1 in 3 of all Syrian children - have been born since the conflict began five years ago, their lives shaped by violence, fear and displacement, according to a UNICEF report. This figure includes more than 306,000 children born as refugees since 2011.
UNICEF launches US$2.8 billion humanitarian appeal for children
GENEVA, 26 January 2016 – UNICEF is launching a US$2.8 billion appeal to reach 43 million children in humanitarian emergencies worldwide.
Statement by UNICEF Iraq Representative, Peter Hawkins and UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq, Ján Kubiš
BAGHDAD, Iraq, 3 December 2015 - The ongoing conflict in Iraq is taking a heavy toll on the country’s most vulnerable citizens – its children.
Violence denies millions of children across Iraq access to education
BAGHDAD, Iraq 30 October 2015– The staggered start of the academic year in Iraq concludes this week with close to two million children nationwide out of school. An additional 1.2 million children age 5 to 14 years old are at risk of dropping out.
Conflict drives 13 million children out of school in the Middle East and North Africa
AMMAN, Jordan, 3 September 2015- Surging conflict and political upheaval across the Middle East and North Africa are preventing more than 13 million children from going to school, according to a UNICEF report released today.
Iraq on the brink of humanitarian disaster due to surging conflict and massive funding shortfall warns UN
BRUSSELS, 4 June, 2015 – Vital aid operations supporting millions of people affected by the conflict in Iraq risk closure unless funds are made available immediately, the official overseeing humanitarian operations in the country said today.
14 million children impacted by conflict in Syria and Iraq: UNICEF
NEW YORK/AMMAN, 12 March 2015 – Some 14 million children across the region are now suffering from the escalating conflict sweeping Syria and much of Iraq, said UNICEF today.
UNICEF Steps Up Assistance for Syrian Children Affected by the Bitter Winter Sweeping through the Middle East
GENEVA/AMMAN, 13 January 2015 – Amidst the harshest conditions of the winter so far, UNICEF has delivered warm clothing, blankets, heating supplies, cash and vouchers to more than 900,000 children in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
With 15 million children caught up in major conflicts, UNICEF declares 2014 a devastating year for children
NEW YORK/GENEVA, 8 December 2014 – The year 2014 has been one of horror, fear and despair for millions of children, as worsening conflicts across the world saw them exposed to extreme violence and its consequences, forcibly recruited and deliberately targeted by warring groups, UNICEF said today. Yet many crises no longer capture the world’s attention, warned the children’s agency.
Critical supplies for Syrian refugee children airlifted to Erbil
ERBIL, Iraq, 1 September 2013 – A plane carrying 100 tonnes of UNICEF emergency supplies to assist Syrian refugee children and families arrived this evening in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
$10 million European Community water and sanitation project underway in Iraq; UNICEF relocates Country Office to Baghdad
BAGHDAD, 30 June 2009 - A $10 million project funded by the European Community to improve Iraq’s water and sanitation services is underway...
Iraq commits $30 million for children
BAGHDAD, 4 May 2009 - Iraq’s Ministry of State for Marshlands has committed $30 million for projects to assist children in rural areas of the...
Almost five million children reached in latest Iraq polio drive
AMMAN/BAGHDAD, 4 November 2008 – In its determination to maintain polio-free status, the Government of Iraq successfully completed another...
Sanitation becoming a luxury in Iraq
AMMAN/ERBIL/GENEVA, 20 March 2008 – Lack of sanitation and polluted water supplies are reaching crisis levels in Iraq, causing illness in children and increased hardship, according...
Little respite for Iraq’s children in 2007
ERBIL/AMMAN/GENEVA, 21 December 2007: An estimated 2 million children in Iraq continue to face threats including poor nutrition, disease...
Iraqi children return to school with hope and fear
AMMAN/BAGHDAD/ERBIL, 6 October 2007 - Nearly six million Iraqi children are going back to the classroom this week - a remarkable achievement...
UN health sector partners launch an appeal to meet the health needs of Iraqis displaced in neighbouring countries
GENEVA, 18 September 2007 - Today, UN health sector partners, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), UNICEF...
New polio drive to protect Iraqi children
AMMAN/BAGHDAD, 2 September 2007 – Another massive effort begins today to deliver a critical vaccine to as many Iraqi children under five years old as...
UNICEF helps to combat cholera outbreak in Iraq
AMMAN/ERBIL, 29 August 2007 – UNICEF has rushed emergency aid to help victims of a cholera outbreak in Suleimaniya and Kirkuk in northern Iraq.
Pierrette Vu Thi on UNICEF, UNHCR appeal for education of Iraqi children in host countries
GENEVA, 27 July 2007 - Over the past year and a half, we have the seen the conflict in Iraq spill over its borders, pushing families in distress to neighbouring countries like Syria and Jordan. In these situations, children often suffer the most.
UNHCR and UNICEF issue joint appeal to get Iraqi children back to school
GENEVA, 27 July 2007 - UNICEF and the UN refugee agency today issued a $129 million joint appeal aimed at getting tens of thousands of uprooted Iraqi children back in school.
UNICEF concerned at conditions for orphans and vulnerable children in Iraq
AMMAN/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 22 June 2007 - UNICEF said today that the discovery and broadcast images of children in a Baghdad orphanage suffering horrific...
UNICEF calls for aid to Iraqi children
GENEVA/NEW YORK/AMMAN, 23 May 2007 – Conditions for Iraqi children affected by violence and displacement have reached a critical point, UNICEF said today.
Lifesaving immunization drive for 3.9 million children in Iraq
AMMAN, 20 April 2007 – In one of the biggest humanitarian operations in Iraq in the last two years, a wave of 8,000 vaccinators will set out across the country starting this...
UNICEF issues urgent humanitarian call for Iraqi children
GENEVA, April 18 2007 - Citing the consequences of rising security risks to Iraqi children and families, UNICEF asked Wednesday to step up support to the country’s most vulnerable...
New classroom supplies give welcome boost to Iraq’s schoolchildren
AMMAN, 14 February 2007 – Millions of school bags, books, pencils and other essential learning materials are now being delivered to Iraq’s primary schoolchildren...
UNICEF Mourns Staff Member Killed in Iraq
AMMAN, 9 January 2007 - UNICEF today confirms that staff member Mr. Janan Jabero has been killed in Iraq. Initial reports from local authorities indicate that Mr. Jabero, a 52 year-old Iraqi national...
Women’s rights essential to Iraq’s recovery
AMMAN, 11 December 2006 - Iraqi women need urgent action to protect and promote their rights, UNICEF’s Iraq Office said today. The call follows the launch of a global UNICEF report saying that equal rights for women is the key to stronger societies.
Despite difficulties, polio immunization drive underway in Iraq
GENEVA, NEW YORK, AMMAN, 14 November 2006 - A national polio immunization drive to protect 4.8 million Iraqi children was launched by the Iraqi Ministry of Health. The campaign was delayed for a week because of security concerns across parts of the country.
Food Insecurity in Iraq Persists: Children Suffer
AMMAN/BAGHDAD, 11 May 2006 – Despite the laudable efforts of the Public Distribution System (PDS) of food baskets, many of Iraq’s poorer households are still food insecure, according to a Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis launched today, based on the most recent data from 2005.
Reduce Vulnerabilities that Push Iraqi Children to the Edge, Says UNICEF
AMMAN/BAGHDAD, 13 April 2006 – The special needs of thousands of Iraqi children who find themselves in trouble with the law and being held in juvenile institutions as well as detention centres was the focus of a workshop that concluded today. Iraqi Government representatives, UNICEF and non-governmental organizations partners working with vulnerable and marginalized groups deliberated the issue for over five days.
Amid ongoing conflict, Iraq successfully implements polio campaign supported by UNICEF and WHO
ERBIL / AMMAN, 1 September 2014 – A mass polio immunization campaign across Iraq earlier this month succeeded in reaching 3.75 out of the 4 million children under the age of 5, despite the ongoing violence sweeping much of the country.
UNICEF to provide cash assistance to displaced Iraqis
ERBIL, Iraq 20 August, 2014 – In response to the continuing humanitarian crisis in Iraq, UNICEF and the Governorate of Dahuk have signed a USD $5 million dollar agreement supporting one-time direct cash assistance to vulnerable, displaced families in the Governorate.
Horrifying accounts of child rights violations emerge from survivors of violence in north-western Iraq
DOHUK, Iraq, 20 August 2014 – Testimonies gathered from civilians who fled the recent offensive by armed groups in the Sinjar district of north-western Iraq have revealed appalling accounts of killing, abduction and sexual violence perpetrated against women and children, according to UNICEF.
Aid agencies work to improve conditions for Iraqi refugees arriving in neighbouring Syria
AL MALKIYA, Syria-Iraq border, 18 August 2014 – Several thousand children are among an estimated 12,000 Iraqi refugees now sheltering at a camp in neighbouring Syria after crossing the remote border between the two countries.
UNICEF Steps up Humanitarian Response in Northern Iraq
ERBIL, Iraq 12 August, 2014 – As the humanitarian crisis continues to unfold in Iraq, UNICEF and other humanitarian actors are stepping up efforts to meet the urgent needs of up to 30,000 members of the ethnic Yazidi minority who are being extracted from Sinjar Mountain, in addition to helping meet the needs of a further 12,000 displaced people who are now sheltering in the Kurdish capital, Erbil.
Mass Polio Vaccination Campaign Supported by WHO and UNICEF Kicks Off in Iraq
ERBIL/AMMMAN, 11 August 2014 – Iraq has launched a polio immunization campaign aiming to protect over four million children under the age of 5 throughout the country against the crippling disease.
Statement on child deaths in Iraq; attributable to Marzio Babille, UNICEF Representative
ERBIL, 5 August 2014 – The reported deaths of 40 children from minority groups who were displaced from Sinjar city and district by armed violence are of extreme concern.
UNICEF reaches displaced children in Iraq's Sinjar Province
DOHUK, Iraq, 2 July 2014 – UNICEF said today it made its first delivery of essential humanitarian supplies to Sinjar, a town in the western Ninevah Governorate of Iraq, to assist some of the thousands of people who fled there over the past few days.
Statement by UNICEF Iraq Representative Marzio Babille on the Latest Displacement of Civilians including Children in Northern Iraq
ERBIL, Iraq, 26 June 2014 – “UNICEF is alarmed by the latest mass displacement of civilians in northern Iraq. Approximately 1,500 people, including large numbers of children and elderly, arrived in Erbil yesterday from Hamdaniya, Ninevah Governorate, and reports indicate a significantly larger group of displaced is on the move. Many of these displaced people have travelled long distances on foot and some bear injuries sustained in the recent violence.
UNICEF scales up humanitarian assistance to displaced Iraqi children
ERBIL, Iraq, 24 June 2014 – Safe water and hygiene are at the centre of UNICEF’s humanitarian response to children and families affected by the on-going conflict in Iraq. The latest crisis, which began on 11 June, resulted in the displacement of an estimated 500,000 people, half of them children.
UNICEF to roll out mass vaccination campaign in Kurdistan region of Iraq
ERBIL, Iraq, 19 June 2014 – UNICEF and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) authorities have agreed to urgent measures to prevent the spread of polio and other diseases among the large number of children displaced by continuing violence into the Kurdish Region of Iraq.
UNICEF airlifts humanitarian supplies for displaced, conflict-affected children in Iraq
ERBIL, Iraq, 18 June 2014 – A cargo plane carrying emergency supplies for children affected by the conflict in Iraq arrived in Erbil on Tuesday.
Thousands of children at risk as families flee Iraqi city of Mosul: UNICEF
NEW YORK/AMMAN/BAGHDAD, 11 June 2014 – Around 500,000 people, up to half of them children, have been forced to flee their homes since violence erupted on 5 June in the Iraqi city of Mosul, authorities say, and the violence is spreading.
Attack on school in Mosul, Iraq
Baghdad/Erbil, IRAQ, 8 June 2014 – UNICEF is horrified by reports from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul of multiple child casualties when a school was directly targeted by mortar fire during clashes between militants and government forces on Saturday 7 June. Any attack which targets children or schools is a grave violation against the rights of the child as outlined in Security Council Resolutions 1612 and 1882.
First mass vaccination campaigns start since polio found in Iraq
AMMAN, 6 April 2014 – Polio vaccination campaigns commenced in Syria, Iraq and Egypt today, aiming to reach more than 20 million children over the next five days.
Statement by Marzio Babille, UNICEF representative in Iraq, on deadly school attack
ERBIL, Iraq, 7 October 2013 – “A suicide bomb attack yesterday on a primary school in Tal Afar in northern Iraq left at least 10 children and their teachers dead and many others injured.
Statement by Marzio Babille, UNICEF Representative in Iraq, on the recent killing and injuring of children
BAGHDAD, 4 May 2013 – “UNICEF has received substantial and credible information that up to eight children have been killed and up to 12 others seriously injured during violence in Hawija, near the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, on 23 April 2013.
Mass vaccination campaigns in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey amid measles outbreaks
AMMAN/GENEVA, 30 April 2013 – UNICEF and partners have stepped up vaccination campaigns in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey amid a number of measles outbreaks in a region already struggling to provide humanitarian assistance to millions of people affected by the Syrian crisis.
UNICEF and UNESCO condemn bomb attack near school in Kirkuk
BAGHDAD, 13 March 2013 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) condemn the attack that took place on March 11 near Wlad secondary school in the town of Dibis in Kirkuk governorate, 290 kilometres north of Baghdad, Iraq.
Findings launched of major survey of children and women in Iraq
BAGHDAD, 12 December 2012 – The Government of Iraq and UNICEF today launched the results of the most comprehensive survey on the situation of...
Iraq launches national education strategy
BAGHDAD, 9 December 2012 – The Government of Iraq has launched a new national education strategy to improve access to quality education for Iraq’s 33...
5.3 million Children in Iraq still deprived of many rights
BAGHDAD, 20 November 2012 – On Universal Children’s Day, UNICEF calls for urgent action for Iraq’s most vulnerable children...
UNICEF condemns killing of children in attack on school in Iraq
BAGHDAD, 23 April 2012 – UNICEF condemns an attack that took place yesterday on a secondary school that killed two children and injured one near the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit.
Survey on the state of the environment in Iraq launched
BAGHDAD, 22 September 2011 - The Government of Iraq, in cooperation with UNICEF and the European Union, today launched the findings of a survey...
On the Day of the Iraqi Child, UNICEF reconfirms its commitment to protect the rights of children in Iraq
BAGHDAD, 13 July 2011 - On the occasion of the Day of the Iraqi Child, UNICEF reconfirms its commitment to protect and promote the rights of Iraq's...
UNICEF, European Union and Government of Iraq start €17M programme to improve primary education in Iraq
BAGHDAD, 17 March 2011 - The European Union is contributing 17 million euro to improve access to quality basic education in Iraq. The EU is partnering with...
Children’s rights events across Iraq conclude; several governorates agree to establish child rights committees
BAGHDAD, 10 December 2010 - As Iraq marks International Human Rights day today, government officials, community leaders and thousands of children across...
Thousands of Iraqi students conclude Global Handwashing Day celebrations; Handwashing with soap could save thousands of children’s lives in Iraq
BAGHDAD, IRAQ, 20 October 2010 - Celebrating Global Handwashing Day on October 15th, over thirty thousand school children across Iraq...
Thousands of Iraqis to benefit from training on dangers of guns
SULIMANIYAH, IRAQ 20 January 2010 - Mine Advisory Group (MAG) and UNICEF have commenced a training on the dangers of small arms...