Hazina, 37, helping her youngest child, 4-year-old Lolo, wash her hands. Lolo is developmentally disabled and cannot walk, but Hazina has not received any assistance to address Lolo’s special needs. Photo: NRC/Christian Jepsen
Read caption Domiz camp in northern Iraq. Photo: NRC/Christian Jepsen

Our country programme in Iraq

Published 15. Dec 2016
The unfolding crisis in Iraq is one of the most complex humanitarian emergencies in the world today, with millions of uprooted Iraqis, and hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.

Irak

Population
36.4
Total number of refugees
501,273
Internally displaced persons
3,290,310
Refugees from other countries
285,121
New refugees
27,636
Voluntary returns
5,921
Source: UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). The figures are from the beginning of 2016.

 

Humanitarian and political background

Almost ten million people are in need of immediate support in Iraq today.

As violence continues to escalate across the country, 3.1 million Iraqis are now displaced. The Kurdistan Region of Iraq also hosts over 220,000 Syrian refugees.

NRC has been present in Iraq since 2010.

 

Fresh waves of displacement

For the past several years, millions of people have been displaced from and within Iraq as a result of military operations. At the end of 2015, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) launched military operations to enter and retake control of parts of the country under the control of ISIS, leading to further displacement from cities such as Fallujah and Mosul.

While military operations were ongoing, many civilians were caught in the crossfire, unable to flee and find safety. More than one million people are thought to be trapped inside Mosul city.

 

The situation for the people displaced within Iraq is deplorable. According to our findings, people are living in insufficient shelter conditions. Most families have depleted all their savings. Difficulties in finding livelihood opportunities, along with rising rental costs, continue to worsen their situation.

 

Stretched resources and limited access

Embroiled in violence, resources amongst communities hosting the displaced are also strained. The crisis impacts all aspects of Iraq’s economy and society, threatening major efforts underway to build national reconciliation. The politically challenging environment is causing severe delays in the delivery of a coordinated, targeted and efficient humanitarian response.

Reaching people in need remains one of our greatest challenges. Many people have received limited or no assistance, but are in dire need. We expect new waves of displacement as the crisis prolongs and needs surge, particularly in areas with heavy fighting.

Elsewhere in Iraq, in areas brought back under government control since 2014, over a million individuals – many of them who had fled the fighting – are returning or have returned to their areas of origin. Many seek to rebuild their homes, restart livelihoods and recover from the trauma of conflict.

People we helped in Iraq in 2015

45,261
people benefited from our education programme
103,638
people benefited from our shelter programme
3,061
people benefited from our ICLA programme
180,091
people benefited from our WASH programme

 

NRC in Iraq

Through our programme in Iraq, we reach Iraqis with emergency assistance. We also support Syrian refugees as they live in exile. 

We have scaled up our response across Iraq to meet the large-scale crisis facing the country. We prioritise reaching more vulnerable people in areas that are difficult to access. Our goal is to always be prepared to work in new settings, so we are establishing more local partnerships in Iraq.

NRC has offices located in Anbar province, Baghdad, Dohuk, Erbil, Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah.

NRC is part of the UNICEF and WFP-led Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM), which enables us to reach newly displaced populations with the most urgent life-saving assistance.

Today, NRC is one of the biggest cash providers in Iraq. Our emergency assistance also includes distributing food rations, hygiene kits, water and basic non-food items (NFIs). In the winter months, we also provide blankets and heaters.

We advocate for the rights of Syrians in Iraq and Iraqis who have fled their homes. We pay particular attention to gender equality and ending gender-based violence (GBV).


Education

"With the new laboratory, I can see with my own eyes how everything works, and put theory into practice."

Ibrahim, 16 years old, Syrian refugee in Darashakran camp, Iraq.

We were one of the first organisations to set up Education in Emergencies (EiE) programmes across camps for internally displaced Iraqis. Our education activities:

• Construct new schools, together with our shelter teams.
• Build science laboratories and computer classrooms, and start up science and computer technology classes.
• Provide summer school and catch-up classes to conflict-affected children and youth.

• Provide recreational activities and safe spaces for children and youth.
• Provide teacher trainings.
• Establish school support centres, where we educate in areas needing emergency assistance, as well as in places where long-term displacement is becoming a reality.
• Support the integration of Syrian refugee children into mainstream schools in Iraq.


Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)

We established our ICLA programme in early 2015, as the need for Syrians and Iraqis to understand their legal rights became more distinct. Our ICLA experts:

• Target unprotected people who are most in need of information, legal counselling and legal assistance.
• Accompany our shelter teams on home visits, to counsel families on their housing, land and property (HLP) rights.


Shelter

In the harsh and varied climates, shelter is essential for affected households to live safely and securely with privacy and dignity. Shelters provide families with an enclosed space where they can keep warm at night, guard themselves from the sun during the day, and help enable to achieve a sense of place and connection to the communities in which they reside.

Gender-based violence (GBV)

Through our community centres women and men are provided with safe spaces, where they access GBV prevention and response services, and participate in activities. Our community centres function as hubs, from where our teams work with groups at risk of GBV. Our gender activities: 

• Launch awareness campaigns on gender-related issues, for men, women, boys and girls. 

• Establish community centres where women, men and children can have a safe space to learn skills through social and recreational activities such as sewing, language classes and sports. 

• Provide psychosocial support to survivors of GBV, aiding them in the healing process. 

• Conduct trainings for community leaders and local partners on GBV issues and the services we provide.

 


NRC is one of the main shelter providers in Iraq, and we also lead in rehabilitating and upgrading shelters in the non-camp settings. Our shelter experts: 

• Build schools, together with our education teams. 
• Carry out social and technical shelter assessments for conflict affected households in both the camp and non-camp settings in close collaboration and partnership with our ICLA and GBV teams. 
• Enable households to make essential repairs - sealing off their shelters from the elements and addressing issues related to privacy, safety, and security - through the provision of materials, training and/or financial resources 
• Improve shelter accessibility for persons with special needs • Rehabilitation and upgrading of shelters to improve their adequacy in camps and in rural, peri-urban and urban areas. 
• In emergencies, distribution of emergency shelter (tents, shelter sealing off kits) and essential basic household items such as blankets, mattresses and heaters


Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)

Our water and sanitation and hygiene teams are present in both camp and in non-camp settings. Access to safe and sufficient water, sanitation facilities, waste management and promotion of good hygiene practices is essential to protecting the displaced populations from public health risks. Spanning from emergencies through the phase of protracted crisis, our WASH programmes includes the following: 

• Provision of access to safe and sufficient water supply, either through water trucking or setting up water supply systems. 
• Provision of access to culturally and gender appropriate sanitation facilities such as latrines, as well as solid waste management receptacles to protect people from public health risks. 
• Hygiene promotion that ensures people understand the cultural aspects and the risks that might affect negatively their health. NRC distributes hygiene kits, water storage kits, sanitation kits and latrine cleaning kits along with hygiene promotion to enable people adopt good hygiene practices


Gender-based violence (GBV)

Through our community centres, women and girls are provided with safe spaces, where they access GBV prevention and response services, and participate in activities. Our community centres function as hubs, from where our teams work with groups at risk of GBV. Our gender activities: 

• Launch awareness campaigns on gender-related issues, for men, women, boys and girls. 
• Establish community centres where women and children can have a safe space to learn skills through social and recreational activities such as sewing, language classes and sports. 
• Provide psychosocial support to survivors of GBV, aiding them in the healing process. 
• Conduct trainings for community leaders and local partners on GBV issues and the services we provide.

Established
2010
Budget forecast 2016
326.7 Million NOK
International staff
42
Field offices
Anbar, Baghdad, Dohuk, Erbil, Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah
Budget 2015
299.7 Million NOK
National staff
409

NRC in Iraq

Country Director

Wolfgang Gressmann

Phone

+964 (0)751 109 6724