Humanitarian situation in Iraq ‘deteriorating and growing more complex,’ UN relief wing reports

A family in the Sheikhan camp, outside of Dohuk – Kurdistan region of Iraq, Photo: OCHA/Charlotte Cans

21 October 2015 – The humanitarian situation in Iraq is deteriorating and growing more complex, as conflict protracts, coping capacities diminish, and funding falls short, according to a report issued today by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The number of Iraqis requiring humanitarian assistance has grown to over 8.6 million people, including over 3.2 million people who have fled their homes since January 2014, according to OCHA. The International Organization for Migration’s most recent tracking of displacement shows that there are now 3,206,736 internally displaced people in Iraq, while military operations and insecurity have triggered new displacement in Salah al-Din and Anbar governorates.

Cholera has spread across the country, with over 1,600 confirmed cases and two deaths one month after the outbreak was first declared, according to the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO). The main causes for the current outbreak are broken water supply systems and the lack of sufficient chlorine in the country to provide clean water.

Insecurity and military operations continue, as Iraqi security forces and its allies continue military operations to retake areas from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Amidst unverified reports of an escalation of military operations there have been reports of civilians seeking to leave Ramadi and Falluja, but access to safety for civilians in conflict areas remains a concern, according to the OCHA report.

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq reported that at least 537 Iraqi civilians were killed and 925 civilians injured nationwide in September 2015. This includes civilian police and casualty figures from Anbar.

International assistance has alleviated the suffering of over two million Iraqis during the past year, but funding is still short of growing needs, said OCHA. Overall global funding to Iraq in 2015 is $618 million, of which $237 million has been received outside the UN and its partners' joint appeals. On 4 June, the Government of Iraq and the UN launched a revised and prioritized Iraq Humanitarian Response Plan seeking $498 million, 41 per cent of which has currently been received.

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