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Humanitarian Action for Children 2019 - Iraq

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Total people in need: 6.55 million
Total children (<18) in need: 3.08 million
Total people to be reached: 1,039,304
Total children to be reached: 543,444

2019 programme targets

- 363,444 children under 5 years in camps for internally displaced persons screened for malnutrition

- 314,985 children aged 9 to 59 months vaccinated against measles through routine immunization
- 22,038 newborn babies in camps for internally displaced persons visited by trained health workers

- 972,808 people with continued and more resilient and equitable access to a sufficient safe water supply
- 486,404 people with continued access to safe and gender- and disabilities-sensitive sanitation facilities and hygiene items

Child protection
- 135,000 girls and boys participating in structured, sustained psychosocial support programmes
- 7,000 at-risk girls and boys receiving case management services
- 10,474 girls and women receiving individual or group psychosocial support

- 200,000 conflict-affected children accessing quality and inclusive formal and non-formal education

Cash-based transfers
- 15,000 children from most vulnerable households benefiting from child-focused direct cash support

Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM)
- 50 emergency response capacity building workshops conducted for government staff

Non-food items
- 180,000 most vulnerable children received warm clothing for winter


More than 6.5 million people in Iraq, including 3 million children under 18 years, will need humanitarian assistance in 2019. Although armed violence has declined, and over 4 million people are returning to their homes, 1.9 million people, including 900,000 children, remain displaced. Over 30 per cent of displaced children live in camps, where the delivery of basic services is essential to reducing the risk of disease and ensuring access to water and sanitation facilities, vaccination, education and protective spaces. Vulnerable families returning to affected communities are in danger due to explosive hazards. In some areas, over 90 per cent of school-aged children lack access to learning. Girls, boys and women who have survived gender-based violence require specialized services to recover and reengage with their families and communities. After decades of violence and neglect, Iraq’s public services remain overstretched, with damaged water and sanitation networks and overburdened health systems putting children at risk of disease outbreaks. Since the start of 2018, 130 children have suffered grave violations of their rights, including killing, maiming and recruitment into armed groups. The humanitarian crisis is compounded by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods and drought, which are threatening children’s safety across the country.

Humanitarian strategy

UNICEF’s humanitarian strategy in Iraq is aligned with the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan. UNICEF leads the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) cluster, the child protection sub-cluster and the Nutrition Working Group; co-leads the education cluster; and is a member of the health cluster. UNICEF will use its leadership position to strengthen the capacities of humanitarian partners to reach crisis-affected children, and will continue to integrate gender-based violence risk mitigation into all programming. With the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UNICEF will maintain temporary capacity for the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM), which government partners will take over in 2019. Safe water, gender-sensitive sanitation facilities and hygiene awareness activities will be supported in camps, host communities and retaken areas. Children under 5 years will receive immunization and nutrition services, especially in low-coverage areas. UNICEF will expand access to safe, quality education and facilitate psychosocial support and specialized protection services, including legal assistance and support for survivors of gender-based violence. UNICEF and partners will conduct cash-based interventions and support capacity building for longer-term recovery. Recovery actions will complement the United Nations Recovery and Resilience Programme in Iraq and the UNICEF Recovery and Resilience for Children appeal.

Results from 2018

As of 31 October 2018, UNICEF had US$96 million available against the US$101.2 million appeal (95 per cent funded). First-line RRM deliveries decreased in 2018 due to the lower numbers of newly displaced people. UNICEF continued critical water and sanitation interventions for almost 960,000 conflict-affected people in camps, return locations and vulnerable host communities. Child protection teams deepened community-based psychosocial support services for nearly 149,000 children, and some 85,000 people attended awareness-raising sessions on child protection, which built sustainable local skills to meet children’s needs. Iraq’s Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism, which gathers data on grave violations of children’s rights, verified 83 per cent of all reports, supporting evidence-based advocacy. More than 1.2 million children were vaccinated against polio and measles through campaigns targeting low coverage areas. More than 133,000 growth monitoring sessions took place for children under 5 years, and over 16,600 mothers improved their knowledge of infant feeding practices. Although crowded classrooms and displacement of teachers continued to present a challenge, accelerated learning curricula and catch-up classes helped out-of-school children access or re-access learning. Despite funding constraints, UNICEF cash assistance developed based on joint United Nations vulnerability assessments helped to reduce barriers to learning for over 3,900 children.