The children of Iraq are in crisis. An estimated 800,000 were orphaned by the end of the Iraq War.

The invasion by ISIS displaced more than 1.3 million. Thousands work on the streets, in homes, or in businesses.

They are why the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) exists: to intervene on their behalf with love and hope.

On Giving Tuesday, 3rd December, all new monthly donors will receive a 100% match on their first donation, and the ICF is competing for a share of $500,000 in matching funds.

Thank you for your ongoing support!

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) is delighted to be holding a Tech forum within the main Conference at Address Hotel in Dubai on December 8th.

Principal among the speakers are Mr Yassin Bhija of GE Healthcare and Mr Uwe Bork of Siemens Healthcare who are driving the healthtech panel – exploring the hot topic of ‘How best to Develop primary and general healthcare in Iraq.’

Iraq has structural and tactical issues in providing universal healthcare at all levels of delivery and in all locations and classes. The two leading healthcare companies will discuss how tech solutions in general can address the issue and how their particular capabilities contribute to the general provision of healthcare.

Following on the Education Tech panel, will be discussing ‘The importance of Digital literacy in Iraq’, led by Google’s Mr Martin Roeke, Dr Victoria Lindsay of the British Council and Mr Timothy Fisher CEO of Stirling Education.

The Forum is sponsored by Innovest Middle East, an investment company that invests in startups during their scaling up stage in key markets in the Middle East region. With representations in Lebanon, Dubai, KSA, and Iraq, Innovest Middle East has played a key role in driving the startup ecosystem through direct investments as well as through supporting incubation and acceleration platforms collaboration with governmental and international bodies. In Iraq, Innovest Middle East launched IRAQPRENEURS in 2018, in collaboration with the World Bank, Central Bank of Iraq and leading private organizations, which grew to become one of the leading nationwide entrepreneurship empowerment platform in Iraq.

Mr Bassam Falah, CEO of Innovest will be addressing the delegates on the progress in support of the Iraqi start up ecology.

More speakers are expected to confirm.

For more information and to register, please contact london@webuildiraq.org.

(Source: IBBC)

The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes a new contribution of US$24 million from the US Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID-OFDA) to strengthen primary, secondary and preventive health services in conflict-affected governorates in Iraq.

Access to improved life-saving health services will be ensured for approximately 3.5 million beneficiaries in seven governorates where health systems have been weakened by years of conflict.

“WHO is grateful to USAID-OFDA for its continued support, which enables us to maintain the delivery of uninterrupted quality health care services to millions of highly vulnerable women, children and the elderly living in severely affected areas,” said Dr. Adham Ismail Abdel Moniem, WHO Representative in Iraq.

As of October 2019, more than 4.3 million people have returned to their homes of origin, while approximately 1.5 million remain displaced in camps, informal settlements, and host communities across Iraq.

Through this new contribution from USAID-OFDA, WHO will scale up its support to national health authorities and partners to find sustainable solutions for the treatment of common diseases and environmental health emergencies. In parallel, WHO will establish primary health care centers in camps hosting displaced people, and rehabilitate primary health care facilities in areas of return.

The contribution will also cover the provision of prosthetics and physical rehabilitation for amputees, in addition to supporting mental health care services for those in need. Clinical management of rape and Gender-Based-Violence survivors is also among WHO’s priorities for 2019/20.

WHO has received considerable support from USAID/OFDA which was vital in supporting the health emergency response throughout the crisis in Iraq. During the Mosul conflict in 2014, mobile clinics were deployed, field hospitals were established close to the frontlines, and medicines and medical supplies were provided to health facilities delivering emergency health services in Dohuk, Ninewa, Anbar, and Kirkuk.

Medical waste management services were also supported, and a total of 76,000 kgs of medical waste was collected, sorted and disposed to prevent risk of cross-contamination.
“WHO has been able to maintain its work in Iraq through the commitment, cooperation, and generous contributions of donors such as the US Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance,” said Dr. Abdel Moniem.

(Source: UN)

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

What’s Really Polluting Southern Iraq’s Most Important Waterway?

For years, fish and other marine life has been disappearing from the all-important Shatt al-Arab waterway in Basra. This wide river at the southern end of Iraq is an important port, linking Iraq with the Persian gulf. It is a vital part of the local environment.

In the more recent past, there have been criticisms that the Shatt al-Arab is too polluted, radioactive and affected with bacterial diseases. Locals often ask why. But it’s not like there is a lack of knowledge about the various causes of this river’s life-threatening problems. A wide number of experts in the area have been studying the different types of pollution problems carefully for years.

Researcher Jabbar Hafez Jebur has conducted a number of studies on whether the Shatt al-Arab is radioactive, taking samples from  various contributing rivers. “The concentration of radioactive elements are within the permitted limits and do not require any action,” he told NIQASH.

The Shatt al-Arab is free of radioactivity, confirms Khajak Vartanian, a physicist with the southern Directorate of the Environment. “But,” he added, “there is growing chemical pollution.”

The concentrations of toxic metals like nickel, chromium, lead, zinc and cadmium can be measured on the water’s surface and in its sediments, says hydrologist Safaa al-Asadi, of the University of Basra’s geography department. There are low  concentrations of toxins spread evenly throughout the waterway.

“Yes, the river is contaminated with toxic minerals but their levels are still within the limits of daily use for irrigation and for aquatic survival,” al-Asadi explained. In fact, much of the pollution comes from the gas emissions in the atmosphere that result from oil extraction activities, he continued, as well as the pollutants issued by diesel generators. These pollutants, discharged into the air, end up in the river after it rains.

Where the various toxins end up depends very much on the tides in the Shatt al-Arab. Their location depends less on the discharge of industrial and domestic sewage, he notes, pointing out that man-made discharges directly into the river have less of an impact than those coming from the sky.

Basra’s Ministry of the Environment regularly monitors the amount of pollution in the waterways at various different points, says Ahmed Jassim Hanoun, director of the department for the protection of the environment at the ministry. Samples are taken regularly and tested, he adds.

Hanoun says his offices are concerned about the direct discharge of pollutants into the Shatt al-Arab and other nearby rivers. But he believes that one of the most important factors is the level of salinity, or salt, in the water.

No bacterial diseases were discovered in the waterways recently and Hanoun says this has a lot to do with the lower levels of salinity. Authorities have tried to ensure that more fresh water is released into the Shatt al-Arab to keep fresh water flowing, and prevent sea water from coming in from the ocean.

“What we noticed after periodic tests throughout 2019 is that the releases of fresh water from the Tigris river, coming from out of Maysan province, has meant that there is more resistance to the salt tongue coming in from the sea,” Hanoun said. The previous year, when there was not as much rainfall upriver, the Shatt al-Arab was a lot saltier and therefore more prone to bacterial growth.

“The department of water resources released 30 to 40 cubic meters [of fresh water] per second in 2018 but in 2019, it released more than 90 cubic meters per second,” Hanoun noted.

Besides the bacterial contamination, saline water from the sea and industrial and environmental pollution, there is another thing that isn’t helping, Hanoun points out: The number of submerged objects in the waterway.

His department has regularly asked the port authority to clear the waterways of the hundreds of objects there, he says.

“We are suffering because of the delay from the government,” says Khaled al-Talibi, a sea captain and head of a local mariners’ association. “The submerged items disrupt navigation in the harbour and change the way the sand and silt moves, which in turn causes a change in currents and reduces the flow of water to the river mouth.”

From Peace to prosperity:

The Conference to find out what’s happening for Iraq business.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) Autumn Conference in Dubai on December 8th is set against a backdrop of relative peace and security in Iraq, and the prospect of oil revenues surging through the economy is driving a wider range of business opportunities and a prospective 8% increase in GDP.

Peace is enabling the economy to diversify through the revenues that pay for a range of infrastructure projects. So this Autumn we are focusing on a range of sectors set to benefit from a stable Iraq: namely, Water, Transport and Logistics, Energy and Tech.

The recent protests have also spurred on Government reforms and incentives to drive employment, entrepreneurship and service diversity, and increase the volume of opportunity that lies ahead and the prospects for not just business-to-business but also a burgeoning consumer market.

The Iraqi Electricity Minister will likely be speaking about his reforms to open up the market to SME’s, training and new players. Other ministers including those from Construction and Transport are attending.

The recent announcement of a 10year tax-free period for SMEs in Iraq will also stimulate the Tech entrepreneur market and drive the uptake of engineering skills.

At this conference, we will discuss big-picture economics with Professor Frank Gunter (Lehigh University), Ahmed Tabaqchali (AFC Iraq Fund), and Simon Penny (UK Trade & Investment), who will address the economic backdrop in the Middle East, and the context for Iraq in particular.

The World Bank and Wood Plc will cover the water sector, while Rolls Royce, Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT), and Menzies will look at transport and logistics, and Iraq’s Electricity Minister, GE, Siemens and Enka will focus on energy.

Alongside the conference our Tech Forum brings experts on HealthTech and Educational Tech, including speakers from GE, Siemens Healthcare, KPMG, EY, Google and the British Council, among others.

While key opportunities will be outlined, the real opportunity for business is to meet the people directly involved in contracts and supply-chain opportunities. This is the place to do business, to network and to find out what’s happening in the Middle East’s most potentially dynamic market that is Iraq.

For further information and to find the latest updates on speakers – more are expected – please contact  london@webuildiraq.org or visit the website to register for tickets.

https://iraqbritainbusiness.org/event/autumn-conference-at-the-address-hotel-dubai

The year it’s all on the up…

Over 10,000 refugees from North East Syria have fled across the border into Iraq following ongoing military operations.

Medair in Iraq has deployed a mobile medical team to Dohuk Governorate and begun delivering emergency health services to the refugees crossing into Iraq, 75% of whom the UNHCR estimates are women and children.

In coordination with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Dohuk Department of Health, and UNHCR, Medair is delivering primary health care services through a mobile clinic, with consultations for viruses, bacterial infections, basic first aid, and chronic disease management, including high blood pressure and diabetes.

“Yesterday Medair saw 76 patients who had travelled long distances from North East Syria, many of whom presented with muscle and bone pain as a result,” says Alanna Smith, Medair’s Health Project Manager leading the emergency response. “Many people are shell-shocked, and the overall mood that we are seeing is downcast. Making this journey was not people’s first choice.”

Some refugees crossing into Iraq told Medair they had become separated from other family members in the rush to flee their homes. Most only fled with a backpack filled with belongings, and are concerned for their own well-being as winter approaches.

“We were at home and the village was being bombed. There were 10 of us and the others all fled. We stayed a short while longer but as the bombing continued, we fled too,” said Sinu and his wife, Nijot, who arrived in Iraq early Thursday morning. “Thankfully we’re safe, but we don’t know about the others. Maybe they’re alive, maybe not.”

UNHCR is preparing for a potential influx of up to 50,000 refugees in the region over coming weeks. “To provide a comprehensive response to the most urgent needs of these people, and to prepare for an additional surge of people crossing the border, a coordinated approach from all actors involved, including UN agencies and NGOs, must continue to be a top priority for all over coming days and weeks,” says Alanna.

Meanwhile Medair continues to reach the most vulnerable and conflict-affected people across Iraq through existing projects providing urgent health care, shelter, psychological support, and meeting water and sanitation needs to those who need it most.

Medair is implementing projects in Kirkuk, Ninewa, Duhok, and Salah al-Din governorates. Medair is known as a provider of high-quality relief services in Iraq, and for building trust with communities and officials. Medair has been active in the Middle East since 2012, working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan, and began an emergency response in Iraq in August 2014. Medair had previously worked in Iraq in 1991, in 1992, and again in 2003.

(Source: Medair)

Highlights

▪ 11,292 refugees crossed into Iraq since the commencement of hostilities.

▪ The number of refugees entering the KR-I continues to increase. On average, over 1,200 new arrivals were recorded on a daily basis during the past seven days.

▪ Bardarash Camp has reached its capacity, new arrivals will now be hosted in Gawilan camp

▪ The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Ms. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, visited Bardarash camp on Wednesday 23 October 2019.

▪ Over 400 individuals have been cleared to leave Bardarash Camp for family reunification in towns and communities in KRI.

▪ Kurdistan Region of Iraq authorities confirmed that all informal borders will remain open for Syrians to seek safety

Key figures

Estimated planning figures for potential refugee influx from North East Syria 50,000 individuals in six months

10,699 individuals hosted in Bardarash camp as of 25 October 2019

Existing Population of Concern in Iraq

270,844 Refugees and Asylum-Seekers (as of 30 September 2019)

229,285 Syrian refugees (as of 30 September)

1,55 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) (as of 31 August 2019)

4,35 million Returnees (as of 31 August 2019)

Contingency stock CRIs and tents for 10,000 families in country

Population movement

As of 25 October 2019, 11,292 refugees have crossed through informal crossing points since 14 October. Most of the refugees arriving are from northern Syria – Sare Kani village, Qamishly city, Hassaka governorate, Gre Spe village, Darbasiya village, Til Tamir village, Derike village and Amoda village.

A total of 10,699 refugees are now hosted in Bardarash camp, and 180 refugees are hosted in Domiz I camp. 413 refugees have left Bardarash Camp, after security clearance by Assayesh and registration with UNHCR, either for family reunification or because they have been identified as extremely vulnerable individuals. UNHCR has been informed that from today, 26 October, family reunification will only be possible for those who have family ties in Duhok governorate.

Board of Relief and Humanitarian Affairs (BRHA) agreed with UNHCR and other humanitarian actors that from 26 October new arrivals will be accommodated in Gawilan Camp, which is 30 km further south of Bardarash camp. New tents have been pitched and the new sector in Gawilan can accommodate up to 1,588 families. Gawilan camp was established in September 2013 and currently accommodates 8,115 Syrian refugees. New arrivals will be able to access existing services. In the event that Gawilan Camp reaches its full capacity as well, new arrivals will be accommodated in Garmawa IDP Camp.

Discussions are ongoing regarding the IDP population currently living in Garmawa camp.
KRI Authorities confirmed that all informal entry points will remain open for Syrian refugees (including Al Walid), however, people entering through these crossing points will be directly transferred by Assayesh to Sahela transit site. Al Walid transit site will no longer host refugees overnight.

UNHCR in collaboration with the BRHA, UNICEF and Assayesh identified a new transit site near Sahela crossing point. The new site (Sahela 2) is located before the main Assayesh check point and allows easier access for humanitarian agencies. Since Syrian refugees arrive during the night and will be transported from all five crossing points to Sahela, they will overnight at the Sahela transit site where they go through initial security screening before being transported to camps.
UNHCR is currently installing three additional rubb halls in Sahela, in addition to the existing rubb hall, two prefab offices, and the covered hall in order to accommodate the large number of people who will be spending the night there. After the current installations are finalized, Sahela 1 and 2 transit sites will have the capacity to host between up to 2,500 individuals per night.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and MedAir are providing primary health services at Sahela crossing point during the day while Samaritan’s Purse covers the night shift. Directorate General of Health (DOH) continues to provide vaccinations.

(Source: ReliefWeb)

By John Lee.

Doctors Without Borders /Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has issued a statement on the situation along the Iraq-Syria border:

As people continue to flee conflict in northeast Syria for Iraq, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has launched medical activities at one site receiving refugees in Iraq along the border with Syria and has assessed mental health needs in Bardarash camp, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

“Immediately after the fighting in northeast Syria started, we quickly assessed different locations including reception sites at the Iraq-Syria border, and camps where we learned that refugees were going to be hosted,” said Marius Martinelli, MSF project manager.

“In these types of assessments, we evaluate the site’s infrastructure, look at the services available, and coordinate with other organisations and authorities to determine and implement as rapidly as possible the most relevant activities for the people arriving.”

Click here to read the full report.

(Source: MSF)

Today on World Food Day, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) renewed their commitment to supporting the government of Iraq in ensuring that all Iraqis have food security by 2030, with a focus on nutritious food and sustainable livelihoods.

“World Food Day is when we confirm and work to achieve our commitment towards Zero Hunger. In Iraq, FAO will be further cooperating with WFP to provide capacity development and rural income generation programmes for farmers.

FAO is supporting the rehabilitation of water infrastructure, value chains development, the fishery sector and introducing smart agriculture practices in response to country priorities and climate change impact,” said FAO Representative in Iraq Dr. Salah El Hajj Hassan.

The 2019 Memorandum of Understanding between FAO and WFP fosters closer collaboration on longer-term initiatives. Activities will include restoring irrigation canals, instituting sustainable practices such as planting productive trees, and providing inputs such as seeds and tools.

Through such programmes, vulnerable people will receive an income, can get back to work following displacement due to conflict, and continue to farm and grow their own food.

As well as enhanced nutrition awareness for Iraqi citizens, in the coming year, climate change adaptation will be a priority so that communities are better able to recover from climate-related shocks. FAO and WFP are striving to build social cohesion through collective livelihoods rehabilitation. WFP recently reopened its office in Basra to help coordinate activities next year in the south, where vulnerability and poverty indicators are worst.

“In this rehabilitation phase, FAO and WFP are working on livelihoods projects to bring communities together, and contribute to improving long-term self-sufficiency,” said Abdirahman Meygag, WFP Iraq Representative. “We see our climate change adaptation activities as being crucial for food security and the country’s recovery.”

FAO and WFP will also share expertise on information management and assessments, for evidence-based programming that targets the most vulnerable. Programmes are designed together with the government, for and with communities. The two agencies will also coordinate with partners on livelihoods activities, to maximise income-generating opportunities for those in most need.

(Source: UN)

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green announced the first tranche of recipients under USAID’s New Partnerships Initiative (NPI) on Thursday during his remarks at the Accord Network’s Annual Forum.

The organizations will carry out programs that improve global health outcomes in USAID’s partner countries, and assist populations in the Republic of Iraq that are recovering from the genocide perpetrated by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Administrator Green launched the NPI in May 2019 to expand and diversify USAID’s partner base and change the way the Agency does business. By working with new or underutilized partners, the Agency hopes to bring more innovative approaches to U.S. foreign assistance; focus on strengthening capacity and commitment in partner countries by tapping into existing networks of community- and faith-based organizations; and reach new populations.

Administrator Green also announced a new $18 million award to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support the return and recovery of displaced religious and ethnic minority communities in the Nineveh Plains and Western Nineveh Province. Long-time USAID partner Samaritan’s Purse will receive $9 million of that total.

New USAID Assistance Through the NPI Direct to Local Iraqi Groups That Are Helping Victims of ISIS Genocide

USAID is awarding small grants through the NPI that total approximately $4 million to six local groups in Northern Iraq to help religious and ethnic minorities targeted by ISIS. The new NPI implementers in Northern Iraq are the following:

Philadelphia Organization for Relief and Development: The award will establish a community center in the town of Qaraqosh to provide services for people with disabilities, training in employment skills, child care, and a community food bank.

Catholic University of Erbil: The award will provide classes in business language and computer software for widows, victims of abuse, and former captives of ISIS.

Top Mountain: The award will support a business incubator and employment program for Iraqi youth, which will promote entrepreneurship, provide business training, and build commercial networks.

Shlama Foundation: The award seeks to improve job opportunities through training engineers on the installation on solar power, provide electricity for families, and install solar-powered pumps for farms and street lighting for villages.

Beth Nahrain: The award will help re-establish a local, women-led organization decimated by ISIS. The organization will also provide small-business vocational training to women in the Nineveh Plains.

Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights: The award will provide trauma-rehabilitation and resilience services to survivors of genocide; legal services and programs in justice/reparations; and activities to promote inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue.

The United States remains committed to supporting persecuted religious and ethnic minorities in Northern Iraq. With these new awards, the total assistance the U.S. Government has provided since 2017 in Northern Iraq is now more than $400 million. These programs complement H.R. 390, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018, which passed with bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress and which President Donald J. Trump signed into law on December 11, 2018. Additional U.S. humanitarian assistance has also benefited the same Iraqi communities.

New Funding for the IOM and Samaritan’s Purse to Help Victims of ISIS Genocide

Administrator Green also announced at the Accord Network that Samaritan’s Purse will receive $9 million as a part of a new $18 million award to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to support the return and recovery of displaced religious and ethnic minority communities in the Nineveh Plains and Western Nineveh Province in Iraq.

New USAID Assistance in Global Health Through the NPI

Administrator Green also announced two new awards under the Agency’s NPI for global health. These awards, which total $68 million, will leverage the expertise and reach of local and locally established civil society and faith- and community-based organizations to increase the quality, access, and sustainability of health care.

The new NPI implementers for global health are the following:

World Relief: Working with local partners, World Relief will expand and leverage existing community networks in four countries to help strengthen maternal, reproductive, and child health at the local level.

Palladium International: This program will help reach USAID’s goal of increasing access to, and the uptake of, high-quality health care across priority areas, in line with USAID’s Journey to Self-Reliance. The partner will provide sub-awards to local organizations, along with mentoring and technical support to strengthen their capacity. Palladium will be expected to pass sixty-five percent of the total award to new and underutilized sub-awardees.

(Source: USAID)