Read caption Displaced people from Mosul and surrounding areas in Hasan Sham camp where NRC is providing emergency aid such as food parcels, water and hygiene kits in addition to school support and safe spaces for children. Photo: Hussein Amri/NRC

NRC in Iraq

The humanitarian crisis in Iraq remains one of the largest and most volatile in the world.

A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2018.

Humanitarian overview

Iraq, with a long history of displacement, has seen an unprecedented rise in displaced people in recent years. Of the more than 5.8 million Iraqis who have fled their homes since 2014, 1.6 million remain displaced.

Over 4 million Iraqis have returned to their area of origin. Humanitarian organisations believe that many of these returns have been premature, unsafe or involuntary. Many Iraqis have returned to areas that lack basic infrastructure, utility services and livelihood opportunities, or where explosive devices have not been cleared. Other challenges include lack of security, community rejection, housing, property and civil documentation issues and lack of educational opportunities.

The UN estimates that more than 6.7 million Iraqis will need assistance in 2019, of whom 3.3 million are children. Humanitarian agencies are asking for USD 701 million to deliver basic assistance to Iraqis (HRP 2019). With military operations against IS group having ended, the Iraqi government faces new challenges to ensure an inclusive reconstruction and reconciliation that will sustain peace.

People we helped in Iraq in 2018

people benefited from our education programme
people benefited from our food security programme
people benefited from our shelter programme
people benefited from our camp management programme
people benefited from our ICLA programme
people benefited from our WASH programme

NRC's operation

We assist internally displaced Iraqis, Syrian refugees, returnees and host communities. We focus on assisting those in protracted displacement in camps, informal settlements and areas of return, with a particular emphasis on hard-to-reach populations.

In 2019, NRC will continue its shift towards early recovery programming, aiming for sustainable development, to assist the displacement-affected population in Iraq. NRC’s operations support the immediate and longer-term needs of displacement-affected communities and implement sustainable actions.


NRC Camp managementCamp management

We directly manage two camps in Ninewa governorate. Our teams:  

  • oversee the maintenance of communal facilities and monitor for service gaps in the camp
  • collect data and manage information
  • focus on upholding governance and community participation
  • monitor returns and advocate for dignified, safe and long-term solutions for the displaced
  • facilitate and lead coordination between humanitarian actors, local authorities, and the camp community

After the closure of camps in Anbar and with IDPs moving to a variety of formal and informal settlements, NRC started to employ the Mobile Site Management (MSM) modality to assess and reach re-displaced IDPs in informal sites. The goal is to enhance the protective environment of such sites, advocate on key identified needs, and link these sites to service providers. NRC has currently identified two sites, hosting around 4,000 IDPs for this type of support. This currently sits as an emergency preparedness measure with pressure on forced camp closures across Ninewa.

The successful piloting of the innovative approach to address the needs of Urban Displaced Out of Camps (UDOC) led NRC to plan to replicate the modality during 2018 in new locations in Ninewa, Anbar and Salah Al Din. NRC plans to expand locations in Salah al Din and West Anbar in 2019. The project aims at establishing mechanisms to enhance:

  • communication with communities: sharing information with and receiving feedback from displaced and vulnerable host communities
  • community engagement: participation of affected communities alongside local stakeholders in the humanitarian and development response
  • support to coordination: efficient, effective, and inclusive coordination of services at local level, involving a range of stakeholders including authorities, civil society, NGOs, and private sector

NRC EducationEducation

We ensure that children and youth have access to quality education. This is an urgent need in Iraq, critical for people to rebuild their lives. Our education teams:

  • support the formal schools and provide teacher trainings
  • provide remedial classes, recreational activities and safe spaces to conflict-affected children and youth
  • support the reintegration into school of out-of-school children and prevent the drop-out of those already enrolled
  • support the integration of Syrian refugee children into formal state schools in northern Iraq
  • provide psychosocial support and stress management to children and teachers
  • advocate for unimpeded access to education for the millions of out-of-school children in Iraq

NRC Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)

Our ICLA experts disseminate information about civil documentation, registration, access to available services and housing, land and property rights along with providing individual counselling and legal assistance. Our programmes:

  • undertake group information sessions and mobile counselling with displaced Iraqis and those returning home
  • produce public information materials and guidance notes on obtaining civil documentation and exercising housing, land and property rights in Iraq
  • assist people in accessing government social assistance, rather than becoming dependent on humanitarian aid
  • build the capacity of humanitarian partners, local authorities and displaced community leaders in resolving local housing, land and property disputes
  • introduce collaborative dispute resolution (CDR) mechanisms for addressing housing, land and property disputes through facilitated negotiation and mediation
  • coordinate with relevant government authorities to assist refugees, internally displaced Iraqis and vulnerable local people to obtain or recover lost civil and legal documents, process compensation claims and access and reclaim their lost or destroyed property
  • support households’ ability to navigate the housing, land, and property tenure issues that exist around mine action and clearance
May Hadaya ICLA Coordinator at NRC

She was working as a Lawyer back in Mosul, but ISIS forced May Hadaya to leave her home 3 years ago. Now she is working with the Norwegian Refugee Council helping people from Mosul obtain official identification documents. Want to know more about May? Watch this video #WorldHumanitarianDay #NotATarget #Iraq

Posted by NRC Middle East on 21. august 2017

NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

In the harsh and varied climates of Iraq, shelter is essential for people to live safely and securely while a lack of adequate shelter in many areas features among the key obstacles to sustainable return. Our teams: 

  • provide materials, training and/or financial resources so internally displaced, refugee and returnee families can repair homes
  • improve shelter accessibility for people with special needs
  • rehabilitate and upgrade damaged or partially destroyed shelters
  • advocate for improved access to adequate housing and the governmental property compensation programme for those whose homes have been destroyed as a result of the conflict
  • re-establish critical community services through minor rehabilitation of associated structures

NRC Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion

Our WASH teams work to protect people from public health risks and to restore the water and sanitation capacity in highly damaged returnee areas. We work to:

  • rehabilitate water networks and water treatment plants
  • provide WASH in schools to reach as many people as possible

NRC Livelihoods and food securityLivelihoods and food security

We have been one of the largest cash providers in Iraq, including through our membership of the Cash Consortium of Iraq (CCI) which brings together five of the largest NGOs operational in Iraq, shifting from first line assistance to the displaced, where access to markets was guaranteed, towards assisting returnee families in their efforts to re-establish their lives. We provide them with the flexibility to spend this assistance on what they need most and improve people's ability to get closer to a durable solution. To facilitate reintegration of returnees in their home areas, we complement our cash efforts with a variety of livelihood activities that aim to support returnees’ resilience and self-sufficiency. Our livelihoods and cash programmes:

  • provide multi-purpose cash assistance, which offers one-time or repeated cash transfers to displaced and returnee families, depending on their vulnerability
  • provide people with cash grants that help promote self-employment opportunities and contribute to local market development
  • provide training that focuses on improving capacity for economic self-reliance and knowledge, skillsets, and social capital to support the recovery process
  • enhance employability and income earning opportunities of youth through job placement/internship programmes


NRC Iraq is grateful for the generous support from our donors:


  • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • U.S. State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM)
  • European Union Regional Trust Fund (MADAD, NEAR)
  • Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)
  • United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR)
  • Department for International Development (DFID)
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)
  • Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
  • United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

About NRC in Iraq

International staff
Areas of operation
Erbil (Country Office), Ninewa, Dohuk, Kirkuk, Anbar, Basra and Salah Al Din.
Budget 2019
USD 39 million
National staff

Country Director

Country Director

Rishana Haniffa


+964 7517410860
Media spokesperson

Tom Peyre-Costa

phone+964 (0) 751 182 3882


Job inquiries

Urban Shelter Response - Lessons From Baghdad