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UNICEF Iraq Monthly Humanitarian Situation Report, January - February 2019

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• In January and February 2019, UNICEF and partners ensured nearly 1.2 million individuals had access to safe water through network construction and rehabilitation.

• Across Anbar, Baghdad, Dahuk, and Ninewa, more than 66,130 school-aged children (33,726 girls) had increased or improved access to learning due to completed construction of new pre-fabricated schools and rehabilitation of damaged schools.

• UNICEF and partners supported 36,196 children (15,960 girls) to access structured sustained PSS, and specialized services (including reunification, alternative or specialized care and services) for 3,846 children (1,766 girls) A continued strategy in 2019 is the use of community-based centres and mobile teams as an entry point for identification of children with specific protection needs.

• For the 2018-2019 winter, UNICEF and partners reached 151,500 children (77,265 girls), including 2,576 pregnant women in 38 locations, including 30 IDP camps and eight informal settlements, across 11 governorates of Iraq. Distributions were followed by post distribution monitoring (PDM) surveys for which responses have been largely positive, with 88 per cent of recipients registering satisfaction with winter items received.

• In January 2019 UNICEF Iraq launched its 2019 Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) Appeal, which requires US$72.9 million to reach at least one million vulnerable children and their families across Iraq.

3.3 million children in need out of

6.7 million people affected (OCHA, HRP 2019)

1.74 million internally displaced people (IDP)

4.21 million people returned to newlyaccessible areas (IOM, Displacement Tracking Matrix, January 2014 to February 2019

Target population in 2019

WASH: 972,808 people

Education: 200,000 children

Health: 314,985 children under-five

Child Protection: 135,000 children

UNICEF Appeal 2018 US$ 72.9 million

Funding Status+ US$ 30.8 million

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Although the humanitarian situation in Iraq has transitioned to a more stable environment, vulnerable children and families continue to face significant challenges. While large-scale military operations against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) ended in 2017, the effects of prolonged armed violence and destruction continue in 2019, with more than 6.7 million people (3.3 million girls or women, 3.3 million children under 18 years) estimated as in need of at least one form of humanitarian assistance. Although this has decreased from 8.7 million in 2018, it still represents around 18 per cent of Iraq’s population. Most urgent needs are found in areas where past hostilities led to destruction of infrastructure, breakdown of services and erosion of social fabric, or in areas indirectly impacted due to hosting a sizeable internally displaced population (IDP). 1 Limited livelihood opportunities are a key factor keeping some of the most vulnerable people dependent on humanitarian providers. Anbar and Ninewa remain the governorates with the highest numbers of people in need of assistance. Together, these governorates account for 3.5 million people in need.

While efforts are underway to build new, or repair damaged infrastructure and restore services, it will take years. Around 60 per cent of people in need have insufficient income to meet basic needs, and 34 per cent report accumulating debt to purchase essential items.
Nearly 4.5 million people (half of them children) need protection support; 2.3 million people require water and sanitation assistance; 2.6 million children lack access to education and 2.3 million people need non-food items (NFIs). Protection remains the overarching humanitarian priority in Iraq in 2019 and is at the core of response. There are multiple pressing protection concerns, including retaliation against people with perceived affiliations to extremist groups; forced, premature, uninformed and obstructed returns; a lack of civil documentation; severe movement restrictions in camps; arbitrary detention, IDPs and returnees who require specialized psychosocial support; extensive explosive hazard contamination and housing, land and property issues.

As of 28 February, 4,211,982 people (including over 2 million children) have returned to their communities, approximately 1,744,980 people (900,000 children) remain displaced, and 54 per cent of all internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been displaced for three or more years. Around 30 per cent of families are still displaced in camps, 70 per cent remain in out-of-camp settings, including nearly eight per cent living in critical shelter arrangements. Of those in camps, 80 per cent remain in Ninewa (52 per cent) and Dahuk (27 per cent). The prolonged nature of displacement has led to increased vulnerabilities; in 11 districts, displaced persons are facing a very high severity of needs. Over 2019, 64 per cent of IDPs intend to stay in areas of displacement, 11 per cent plan to return, one per cent want to leave the country or resettle elsewhere within Iraq, and 24 per cent are undecided. Key issues hindering returns include: problems with housing, earning a living and accessing basic services, social cohesion, security, and mental health issues, with destruction of houses in areas of origin the most prevalent self-reported reason for displacement.

Natural disasters, particularly floods, droughts and earthquakes, and communicable disease outbreaks (especially in the southern governorates) may also continue to pose risks to already vulnerable populations.