Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance
Humanitarian Assistance in Iraq
Assistance since January 2003: $396 million
Assistance since October 1, 2008: $121 million
Humanitarian Sectors: Agriculture and food security; economic recovery and market systems;
emergency relief supplies; health; humanitarian coordination; nutrition; protection; shelter and settlements; water, sanitation, and hygiene.
Iraqi Counterparts: Ministry of Displacement and Migration; Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs
Current Humanitarian Situation
The international humanitarian community estimates that there are 2.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq, including 1.6 million displaced since the February 2006 insurgent bombing of the Al-Askari mosque in Samarra. An additional 1.7 million Iraqis are displaced to neighboring countries.
The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that during 2008 and 2009, approximately 426,000 displaced persons returned to their places of origin. This includes nearly 64,000 refugees and more than 362,000 IDPs. The majority of returns occurred in Baghdad, Anbar, and Diyala provinces.
Humanitarian needs in Iraq persist among IDPs, returnees, and other vulnerable groups and include shelter, livelihoods, and food. Displaced families continue to require emergency relief items and access to safe spaces. Conflict-affected communities need assistance to repair and improve medical facilities and water and sanitation infrastructure.
USAID/OFDA Humanitarian Program
Since 2003, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) has contributed $396 million in humanitarian aid to vulnerable populations in Iraq with $9.3 million since October 2010. USAID/OFDA programs focus on the most vulnerable populations nationwide, including IDPs, returnees, female and elderly heads of household, orphans, disabled, widows, and large families.
Currently, USAID/OFDA is providing assistance through seven non-governmental organizations, three U.N. agencies, and one international organization, reaching close to one million people. The USAID-funded humanitarian program supplies emergency relief items, rebuilds shelters, extends primary healthcare, improves water and sanitation, helps generate income, builds government capacity to assist the displaced, collects and analyzes IDP and returnee data, and coordinates humanitarian response efforts.
Despite insecurity and limited access, since 2003 USAID/OFDA partners have provided humanitarian aid to vulnerable individuals and groups throughout Iraq. USAID/OFDA partners assist with housing needs through the provision of emergency and transitional shelter materials to displaced populations, returnees, and host communities. In recent years, USAID/OFDA partners have provided basic construction materials for approximately 12,000 IDP and returnee families residing in public buildings. Close to 725,000 of the most vulnerable Iraqis, of which a significant majority were IDPs, received non-food items targeted to meet the specific needs.
USAID/OFDA-funded projects expand access to healthcare for vulnerable groups including IDPs, women and children by rehabilitating primary health centers and providing medical equipment and supplies to facilities. During fiscal year 2009, USAID/OFDA health programs benefitted more than 400,000 IDPs and since 2003 have indirectly benefitted an estimated 20 million Iraqis. USAID/OFDA partners address gaps in water, sanitation, and hygiene services through infrastructure rehabilitation and sanitation and hygiene education. Projects directly benefitted more than one million people in fiscal year 2009.
USAID/OFDA partners work with local authorities to implement public-works projects, providing temporary employment for thousands of vulnerable persons. USAID/OFDA supported approximately 5,000 IDP and returnee farmers through the provision of micro-grants, seeds, spare parts for farm equipment, and soil conservation and agronomy services. Programs also support literacy and numeracy classes for adults and vocational training and information and communication technologies classes for youths.
USAID/OFDA partners help build government capacity to monitor population movements, facilitate returnee registration, and offer legal advice and information to refugees and IDPs. In fiscal year 2009 USAID/OFDA funded almost $5 million in capacity-building programs, including support for returnee assistance centers in five provinces that have assisted more than 125,000 people.
USAID/OFDA Stories from the Field
Rehabilitating Shelter and Providing Relief Items:USAID/OFDA partners facilitated shelter rehabilitation through small grants, technical and material support for the repair and rehabilitation of damaged houses, and cash-for-work programs in nine provinces assisting more than 26,000 individuals. Shelter beneficiaries and other vulnerable groups received 275,000 non-food item kits.
Improving Water Sanitation and Hygiene:OFDA-funded interventions played a significant part to address water and sanitation needs countrywide. Projects include construction of latrines, distribution of drinking water, construction or rehabilitation of water systems, training on maintenance of water systems, and community hygiene promotion sessions.
Protection: USAID/OFDA partners established nine child-friendly spaces, benefitting nearly 60,000 children, and conducted 130 protection workshops.
Adapting Assistance to Meet Changing Needs: USAID/OFDA funding mechanisms are flexible to meet immediate needs. USAID/OFDA reallocated funds so partners could address emergency water shortages in Basrah province. A USAID/OFDA partner supplied Baghdad hospitals after security incidents. Many partners contributed to a nationwide response to H1N1 through hygiene-awareness campaigns and the distribution of thousands of household hygiene kits.
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