The presence of explosive hazards, including improvised explosive devices in areas liberated from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), will continue to impede security and stability efforts as well as development initiatives until these are cleared and rendered safe.

A delegation from DFID was recently hosted by UNMAS in Mosul and had the opportunity to speak with Iraqi and international implementing partners and hear their stories about how and why they work to clear of explosive hazards. Ms. Stefanie Nijssen, Policy & Programme Manager for Demining and Arms Control, and Ms. Susan Erb, Humanitarian Advisor, together with Mr. Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Senior Programme Manager, saw firsthand that within a few days a water treatment plant can be made free from explosive hazards for engineers to commence rehabilitation work – but no matter how quickly this can be done, the emphasis is on making the site safe.

“Safety is the most important”, G4S Team Leader Faisal Abdul Rida Obaid Farham Al-Zaid explained to the visiting delegation. “We can fix a park or building after an explosion, but we cannot fix a lost limb or lost human soul”. DFID also met with a number of national and international mine action organizations, as well as local authorities.

UNMAS work in Iraq focuses on clearance of explosive hazards in areas previously under ISIL occupation, risk education with life-saving messages in advance of internally displaced persons (IDP) return and capacity enhancement of local and national authorities to manage, regulate and coordinate an effective response to new threats.

This is done in close coordination with agencies engaged in the rehabilitation of infrastructure and humanitarian programmes, which collectively define the way forward for development.

Deputy British Ambassador to Iraq, John Tucknott, said: “Until mines are cleared and areas made safe, normal life cannot return. Mine clearance is an essential step in regenerating war damaged areas. The UK is proud to be supporting UNMAS in delivering this essential work”.

“Explosive hazard management is the first step and of crucial importance to allow displaced people to safely return to their homes,” said Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Senior Programme Manager in Iraq. “The continued and generous support provided by the Government of the United Kingdom is crucial to create a safe environment for people to live in and to strengthen the capacity of the Government of Iraq in mitigating the threat posed by explosive hazards”.

The United Kingdom is one of the largest contributing member states to UNMAS in Iraq.

(Source: UN)

UNHCR supports 130,000 Iraqis taking the first steps on the road to recovery, thanks to funds from the UK Department for International Development

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, completes a year-long series of activities this month, supporting 130,000 vulnerable Iraqis as they take the first steps on the road to recovery, thanks to the generous donation of £9 million from the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

With these funds, UNHCR was able to reach approximately 90,000 people with cash assistance, and support 40,000 people to obtain the legal documents that are essential for them to access social welfare services provided by the Iraqi government.

The recent conflict cast a long shadow across Iraq. As the country begins to recover, the challenges faced by millions of people diversify. Although different to the situation endured during the years of extremist control and conflict, the current problems are no less acute for the people facing them.

By promoting self-sufficiency, reducing the burden of debt and encouraging reintegration into existing social mechanisms, programmes like cash assistance and access to legal documentation help to lay the groundwork for longer-term recovery.

“The UK continues to stand by vulnerable Iraqis affected by the devastating conflict with Da’esh,” said Mr. Jim Carpy, Head of DFID Iraq. “Through UNHCR’s programme, UK aid is providing families displaced by conflict with cash assistance, allowing them to buy food and other essential items, re-build their lives, and ultimately return home when it is safe to do so. Our support to displaced people – including many female-headed households – offers them dignity while empowering them to prioritise their own needs in a flexible and cost-effective way.”

“Cash assistance and access to new and replacement documents are crucial for Iraqis making the jump from crisis to recovery,” said Mr. Bruno Geddo, UNHCR’s Representative in Iraq. “The first step can be the hardest to take, and we must continue to stand by the people of Iraq as they start the long journey to peace and stability. UNHCR is grateful to DFID for its long standing support on cash assistance. At a time when global interest in Iraq is diminishing, I urge key donors to maintain the support they have so generously provided throughout this critical time. There is no quick fix for Iraq, and underfunding could severely impact many vulnerable people still unable to return home in a safe and sustainable way.”

(Source: UN)

Iraq Displacement Figures Drop Below Two Million for First Time Since 2014; Nearly Four Million Have Returned Home

For the first time in nearly four years, the number of displaced Iraqis has fallen below two million, according to a milestone IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) report released today (04/09).

Data collected by IOM staff for the 100th DTM report, concluded that 1,931,868 people remain displaced, the lowest figure since November 2014. Round 100 also reported that nearly four million people have returned home. Publication of this data is significant for IOM, the UN Migration Agency, as it marks more than four years of tracking displacement in Iraq.

Since January 2014, Iraq’s war against ISIL has caused the displacement of six million Iraqis – around 15 per cent of the entire population of the country. In December 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of the country’s war against ISIL.

Across Iraq, IDPs continue to return home at a steady though slower pace than in 2017. The governorates with the greatest number of returnees are Ninewa (1.49 million), Anbar (1.27 million), Salah al-Din (nearly 553,000), Kirkuk (296,000), Diyala (222,000) and Baghdad (77,000).

Virtually all (97 per cent) have returned to their habitual residences, two per cent to private settings, while one per cent (19,000 individuals) remain highly vulnerable having sought shelter in religious buildings, schools and unfinished or abandoned buildings.

The remaining IDPs are concentrated in: Ninewa (602,000), Dahuk (349,000), Erbil (217,000), Salah al-Din (169,000), Sulaymaniyah (151,000) and Kirkuk (124,000). Of those who continue to be displaced, 1.2 million are in private settings, 574,000 are in camps, and 176,000 are in critical shelters.

According to latest DTM data, returnees cited the improved security situation, availability of housing, lack of financial means to remain in displacement, the encouragement of community leaders and support from friends and relatives as factors in their decision to return.

Obstacles to return shared by families who are still in displacement include damage or destruction of housing and infrastructure, lack of financial means and job opportunities, and security concerns.

“IOM DTM data has documented the phases of the crisis and has been critical for planning humanitarian assistance,” said Marta Ruedas, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq. “Data on returns is also essential for this next phase of our support for recovery and reintegration.”

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite said: “DTM makes an important contribution to humanitarian efforts in Iraq by informing the direction of resources to displaced and returnee populations. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi families continue to be displaced and face significant obstacles to return. Both displaced and returnee populations are often vulnerable and need humanitarian assistance to regain their livelihoods and support their families.”

The DTM is IOM’s information management system to track and monitor population displacement during crises. Since early 2014 IOM Iraq has been producing data sets, monthly reports and thematic reports, including on the Mosul crisis, obstacles to return, location assessments and emergency tracking. This information is shared publicly to inform humanitarian efforts.

The IOM Iraq DTM is supported the US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).

DTM round 100 can be downloaded at:
http://iraqdtm.iom.int/LastDTMRound/Round100_Report_English_2018_July_31…

IOM Iraq DTM portal address is: http://iraqdtm.iom.int

(Source: UN)

Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas deliver vital support to AMAR IDP clinics

As Iraq’s security conditions have improved, international donors have turned their attention to other troubled parts of the world, leaving many IDP camps in the country on the brink of closure.

Thanks to the continued support of Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas, however, AMAR have continued to deliver much needed healthcare and support to Khanke Camp’s 16,000 residents

Nearly 2 million Iraqis remain displaced within Iraq, a vast proportion of them still in camps for internally displaced people (IDPs). From victims of conflict who have lost homes and livelihoods to families too afraid to return to their homes after the violence of recent years IDPs remain among the most vulnerable population in the country.

After the trauma of violence and displacement, families in the camps continue to rely on the safe, supportive and nurturing environment in the camp to start rebuilding their lives. But with charitable funding drying up, many camp facilities, especially health care centres, are facing imminent closure.

Dana Gas and Crescent Petroleum, which have contributed considerably to causes within Iraq, remain committed to AMAR’s services in Khanke, delivering vital health and wellbeing services to the thousands of residents at the camp.

Crescent, one of the Middle East’s oldest and largest upstream oil companies, and Dana, one of the largest private-sector natural gas companies in the region, are committed to helping AMAR deliver vaccinations, antenatal care and child health monitoring at the camp.

IDPs are among the most vulnerable people in Iraq, but sadly they are often overlooked by donors,” said Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum. “We are proud to be partnering with AMAR to provide critical healthcare services and training to the people in Khanke camp.

A key part of the health programme at the camp are the Woman Health Volunteers (WHVs), who are the front line to identifying health and wellbeing issues among the residents and are trained to deliver health care when needed. Between April and June of this year, the WHVs made thousands of home visits to families at the camp, providing basic healthcare services and delivering health advice, in addition to providing mental health outreach. In all, the WHVs offered support and services to more than 15,000 people during the spring period.

One AMAR WHV, Thikra, for example, recently paid a visit to the Jamila family in the camp. One of the family’s sons had been showing distressing changes in behaviour, including fatigue, excessive sleep and weight gain. Thikra identified the signs of depression in the boy and confided in Mrs. Jamila to openly discuss her son’s symptoms. She then advised the mother to seek a medical assessment for boy’s the condition and set the family on the path to recovery.

Thikra’s work is funded by Dana and Crescent, and is emblematic of the kind of support the companies are funding and promoting in the community.

The companies also provide funds for vocational training programmes in the camps, including sewing and design, IT, and English lessons, providing residents the opportunity to develop skills that can boost their chances of finding employment or to set up their micro-business of their own.

Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas are among the largest private foreign investors in Kurdistan. Their focus is on developing the region’s natural resources in sustainable way to deliver lasting benefits to local communities. Their US$1.1bn development of the Khor Mor gasfield provides the natural gas to power electricity plants in Erbil and Chamchamal, delivering 1,700 MW of electricity to over 4m people living in the region.

LPG Plant in Kor Mor

Patrick Allman-Ward, CEO of Dana Gas’, said:

“We are committed to developing resources in Kurdistan to provide power to communities and build the structures for inclusive growth, as well as to tackle the economic and social factors that are a barrier to this development. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with AMAR in the future so that we can continue working towards these goals across the region.”

Other projects Dana and Crescent have funded in Kurdistan include renovating and supplying schools, funding hospitals and providing potable water to villages.

Baroness Nicholson, AMAR’s Founder and Chairperson said:

“It is vital that we continue to provide healthcare and education in the camps, as people living there continue to experience extreme deprivation. Thanks to the exceptional generosity of Dana and Crescent, we are able to do this in Khanke. We are very grateful to them for giving us the opportunity to bring relief and support to communities in real need.”

(Source: AMAR)

The European Commission for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) has provided an additional € 4.5 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) to maintain health security and resilience for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), returnees and host communities in conflict-affected governorates of Iraq.

This comes on top of the €29.2 million already contributed by the commission since 2015.

This renewed support will be used to sustain health services more than 500 000 vulnerable people in hard to reach and newly accessible areas of Ninewa and Anbar for the coming 12 months and to ensure vigilance for diseases with a potential of causing outbreaks.

The funds will also support to provide necessary essential medicines and medical supplies as well as facilitate referral services for returnees who have limited access to primary healthcare, secondary rehabilitative and referral health services.

ECHO Head of Office in Iraq, Simon Mansfield said:

“ECHO is keen to continue this support of the provision of medical humanitarian assistance in Iraq. Access to essential medical services for displaced populations and assistance for victims of war injuries remain ECHO’s priorities in country. In 2018, ECHO maintains this strategic partnership with WHO”.

WHO’s Representative in Iraq, Altaf Musani said:

“We welcome this additional contribution from our long term partner, ECHO. This contribution will support WHO and health partners to ensure uninterrupted access to essential and rehabilitative health care services for at least 500,000 IDPs, returnees and vulnerable host communities in the country’s most conflict-affected governorates”.

This partnership between ECHO and WHO represents a strong commitment in improving the health of the people of Iraq.

(Source: WHO)

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie visits West Mosul, less than a year after the city’s liberation.

The visit marks Jolie’s 61st mission – and her fifth visit to Iraq – with the UN Refugee Agency since 2001.

She arrives in the city on the second day of the Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

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Statement by UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie at Domiz refugee camp in Iraq

In my country, when we speak of the Middle East we often focus on conflict and human suffering.

And it is true that countless families in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen are suffering from conflict they personally have no part in, instability they cannot control, and extremism that they reject.

But on this visit I have been reminded, as I am every time I am here, of the truly extraordinary dignity, resilience, warmth, generosity and grace of the people of the Middle East.

And I want to thank the people of Iraq for their generosity towards Syrian refugees and displaced people, and in particular the KRI government, which is setting a model for refugee protection.

I’m happy have been here on Eid al-Fitr, and I wish the Iraqi people, the Syrian people, and families across this region and beyond, Eid Mubarak, or Jaznawa Piroz Bit.

I am in Iraq to mark World Refugee Day next week. On Tuesday, UNHCR will publish new figures showing that the numbers of displaced people, and the duration of their exile, are the highest they have ever been. At the same time political solutions seem completely lacking, leaving a void that humanitarian aid cannot fill.

Words like “unsustainable” don’t paint a picture of how desperate these times are.

This is my third visit to Domiz camp in six years. The vast majority of its inhabitants are Syrian women and children.

Their lives are on hold indefinitely because of the war. They cannot go back, they cannot move forward, and each year they have less to live on.

I met two mothers this morning, both of them widows. They both lost their husbands while living as refugees, to medical conditions that could normally have been treated.

And now they are both caring for young aged five 5 and 7 who also have life-threatening medical conditions.

When UNHCR’s Syria response was only 50 per cent funded last year, and this year it is only 17 per cent funded, there are terrible human consequences. We should be under no illusions about this.

When there is not even the bare minimum of aid, refugee families cannot receive adequate medical treatment, women and girls are left vulnerable to sexual violence, many children cannot go to school, and we squander the opportunity of being able to invest in refugees so that they can acquire new skills and support their families.

This is the picture in Iraq, in Syria, and wherever in the world you find refugees and displaced people today.

The only answer is to end the conflicts that are forcing people to flee their homes – and for all governments to meet their responsibilities.

So this World Refugee Day I hope that people around the world will consider this larger picture:

What this level and length of displacement says about our world being dangerously out of balance.

What it will say about us if our response is to be selective about when we help, and when we are prepared to defend human rights.

And what it will mean for the future if we are unable to provide enough basic humanitarian support for displaced people and unable to find any solutions to conflicts at the same time.

That is the situation today, but it is not hopeless.

There are millions of refugees and displaced people who want to return home and to work and start over – as I saw in Mosul yesterday, where brick by brick, with their own hands, they are rebuilding their homes.

There are countries that are keeping their borders open to refugees, despite all the pressures and challenges.

There are aid relief workers who are stretching the aid resources, somehow, to minimize loss of life and provide protection.

And there are people around the world who are more committed than ever to defending human rights and basic values.

So on World Refugee Day this year I hope that we can find the strength to find a better way forward together: so that we move into a new era of preventing conflict and reducing instability, rather than simply struggling to deal with its consequences.

Thank you.

(Source: UNHCR)

From the AMAR International Charitable Foundation.

Baroness Nicholson visits Najaf to mark the continuing success of AMAR’s busy public health clinic:

Please click here to help AMAR in their valuable work in Iraq.

Qatar Fund For Development Supports WFP’s Food Assistance Program in Iraq

The Qatar Fund For Development (QFFD) has made a contribution of US$3 million to the United Nations World Food Programme to provide assistance for displaced people in Iraq. The funding will support more than 22,000 Iraqis living in camps.

“The Qatar Fund For Development is committed to supporting displaced people in Iraq, providing them with their basic human needs, and giving them hope for a better future,” said QFD Executive Director of Corporate Strategy, Ali Abdulla Al-Dabbagh after signing the contribution agreement in London.

In urban areas with functioning markets, families will receive cash, allowing them to buy the food they need in line with their dietary requirements and preferences. In areas where local markets are not well established, WFP provides assistance through e-vouchers, which can be used in selected shops.

“We welcome this donation from the Qatar Fund For Development,” said Francis Mwanza, head of WFP’s London office. “Although some Iraqis have returned to their homes, others have lost all their possessions and face security threats, these people remain in camps and continue to need our support.”

WFP currently assists 570,000 displaced Iraqis in camps each month with food rations and cash-based assistance.

(Source: WFP)

Access to safe drinking water is ensured for over 33,000 people in the Governorate of Erbil

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Erbil Governorate completed the rehabilitation of the main water treatment plant in Rawanduz sub-district, which provided safe drinking water to over 33,000 people, including 2,000 internally displaced people (IDPs).

With support from the Government of Germany, UNDP’s Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP) and Erbil Governorate upgraded key components of the treatment plant, including construction of a pumping station, main transmission pipeline and water treatment unit.

The upgrade of the water treatment plant will help alleviate chronic shortages, ensure adequate supply of clean water and improve health conditions for the local population.

At a ceremony marking the completion of the project, the Minister of Municipalities and Tourism (MOMAT) for the Kurdistan Regional Government, H.E. Mrs.  Newroz Mawlood Amin, said:

“I feel very lucky to be here today to open the Bekhal-Rawanduz water plant. The project is delivering potable water in line with international standards, benefiting people living in Rawanduz district and surrounding villages.”

The Governor of Erbil, H.E Mr. Nawzad Hadi, said:

“This project has addressed a surge in demand for basic services caused by the influx of IDPs in many villages. We thank the residents of Rawanduz for their generosity in welcoming IDPs and we praise both host communities and IDPs for living peacefully in this area.”

The Mayor of Rawanduz, Mrs. Kwestan Qadir, added:

“Because of the poor quality of water, local communities, especially children, were suffering from waterborne diseases. This project will increase the supply of drinking water to households from 1.5 hours over two days to 24 hours a day/seven days a week. This is a remarkable achievement. We are confident that the improved access to safe water will prevent potential future outbreaks of water-related diseases.”

UNDP’s Programme Manager for ICRRP, Mr. Ashley Carl, noted:

“One of the first steps to recovery after a crisis is ensuring people have access to basic services. ICRRP is strengthening access to basic services and improving the life of vulnerable communities throughout Iraq. With donor support ICRRP has launched more than 30 new infrastructure projects across the country. We are glad to have contributed to such an important project focused on supporting local authorities in meeting the increased demands for essential services to at risk communities.”

UNDP’s Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP) promotes the recovery and resilience of communities vulnerable to multi-dimensional shocks associated with large-scale returns and protracted displacement of Iraqis and Syrian refugees.

This is achieved through a medium-term, 24-36 month period of programming integrating crisis management capacity building, rehabilitating basic service infrastructure, livelihood recovery and social cohesion.

(Source: UNDP)