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IOM Iraq appeals for USD 20.4 Million to enhance national COVID-19 response

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IOM Iraq Appeals for USD 20.4 Million to Enhance National COVID-19 Response

23 April 2020

Baghdad — On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a pandemic. As of 21 April 2020, there were 2,397,217 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 162,956 deaths reported globally. WHO have reported that the increase in cases of COVID-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Iraq, is of particular and great concern. 1,602 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 83 deaths had been reported in Iraq by 21 April 2020.

The COVID-19 crisis is not only exacerbating existing vulnerabilities among vulnerable populations in Iraq, but will have a heavy impact on socioeconomic wellbeing across the country if immediate response and mitigation strategies are not put in place. This includes for an estimated 1.4 million internally displaced persons (some 300,000 of whom are living in camps and reliant on humanitarian assistance) and 4.6 million people who have returned to their area of origin (around half of whom are living in areas with severe or moderately severe living conditions). There are also thousands of migrants in Iraq, many undocumented, who are now unable to work and require protection and support.

"Years of conflict and sanctions have taken a toll on the Iraqi health care system; the COVID-19 pandemic may overwhelm this already weakened infrastructure,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. “There are large IDP, refugee, returnee and migrant communities in Iraq that already face challenges accessing health care and relevant information, and are still recovering from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) crisis and subsequent economic downturn.”

IOM Iraq is appealing to the international community for USD 20,450,000 to contribute to halting further transmission of COVID-19 and mitigating the impact of the outbreak including the socio-economic impact.

The organization will build upon its strong operational footprint and existing expertise in migration health, integrated border management, community-based transition, and recovery and stabilization initiatives, including economic revitalisation activities, to support the Government of Iraq respond to COVID-19 through short, medium and longer term interventions where possible.

Areas of focus will include Coordination and Partnerships; Tracking Mobility Impacts; Risk Communication and Community Engagement; Disease Surveillance Systems; Public Health Capacities at Points of Entry; Infection Prevention and Control; Case Management and Continuity of Essential Services; Camp Coordination and Camp Management; and Protection. The organization’s Communicating with Communities, protection and disability inclusion teams will provide essential support and guidance across all interventions.

IOM Iraq will leverage its wide network of staff and offices across Iraq, experience working in difficult operating environments and its strong ties with government counterparts at national, governorate and local levels, to employ a multi-sectoral, whole of government and society approach.

IOM Iraq’s Response Plan is part of the IOM Global Strategic Preparedness and Response plan, which aims to ensure that a well-coordinated, comprehensive, equitable and timely response to the crisis is in place to halt further transmission of the disease, limit the humanitarian and socioeconomic effects of the pandemic, and support affected communities in preparing for longer term-recovery.

In coordination and partnership with relevant local actors and authorities, IOM Iraq will carry out its response in line with the WHO Iraq Country Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan Against COVID-19, released on 23 March 2020.

For more information please contact IOM Iraq’s Public Information Unit, Tel: +964 751 402 2811, Email: iraqpublicinfo@iom.int

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