In 2003, following the start of foreign military operations in Iraq, DRC became one of the first organisations to provide humanitarian assistance in the country, and now operates in 11 governorates, including Anbar, Baghdad, Babel, Diyala, Duhok, Erbil, Karbala, Kirkuk, Najaf, Ninewa and Salah-al-Din.

As the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from Mosul since the start of military operations against the Islamic State (IS) in October 2017. They are among the more than three million Iraqis displaced across the country.

In addition to IDPs, Iraq also hosts over 230,000 Syrian refugees, and has witnessed the return of nearly 2 million people to re-taken areas since April 2015. This widespread and dynamic movement of people within and across Iraq’s borders has engendered severe needs across the country, in formal camps and informal settlements hosting IDPs and Syrian refugees; in host communities, where resources are overstretched by the influx of IDPs and in areas of return where property has often been destroyed and basic goods and services are still limited.

DRC Iraq’s response aims to provide integrated emergency support to conflict-affected populations as well as promote early recovery activities that encourage durable solutions for the future. Last year, DRC reached roughly 1.2 million beneficiaries across Iraq where the country portfolio amounted to roughly $38 million, and included 37 projects funded by 17 donors. This year, DRC continues to focus on providing emergency assistance to displacement-affected populations and the most vulnerable through dynamic programming and engagement with country-wide consortia like the Cash Consortium of Iraq (CCI).

The CCI is a consortium of five humanitarian organisations that was formed in 2015 in an effort to streamline and coordinate unconditional, multi-purpose cash assistance to vulnerable households. The current partners – DRC, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Oxfam, Mercy Corps, and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) – have reached 78,000 people with Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance (MPCA) so far in 2017.

As a leading protection agency in the country, DRC also mainstreams protection throughout all sectors of operation and also hosts the Protection Cluster Co-Coordinator as well as the Rapid Protection Assessment (RPA).

DRC Iraq‘s interventions include:

1. Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM): Currently, DRC manages the camp coordination response in the Qayyarah Airstrip Emergency Site south of Mosul, which hosts some 50,000 IDPs. In Tikrit, DRC supports the Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MoDM) in administering the Al-Alam IDP camps. In Anbar, Baghdad and other governorates, DRC addresses the needs of IDPs who have little access to services.

2. Shelter and Non-Food-Items (NFIs): DRC’s shelter and NFI activities in Iraq are focused on supporting vulnerable conflict-affected populations both in and out of camp settings.

DRC distributes Core Relief Items (CRIs) and NFIs, and provides shelter assistance to host communities and IDPs across the country. NFI, CRI and shelter kit distributions have reached over 34,000 people as part of the Mosul humanitarian response since the beginning of 2017.

In Mosul, DRC’s response focuses on providing immediate support and relief by distributing basic items and shelter assistance. NFIs, CRIs and Sealing off Kits (SOKs) ensure that IDPs have access to basic materials while still in transit or upon arrival at emergency sites and camps.

3. Protection: DRC’s protection interventions include collecting data and information about protection needs and concerns, providing direct assistance, referring cases to other aid providers, supporting community-based protection mechanisms and engaging in capacity-building for local protection actors.

Interventions are often mobile – such as mobile Child Protection Spaces – to provide support in more formal and informal IDP sites and host communities than would be possible through a static response.

Protection services also include awareness and sensitisation information, recreation and psychosocial support, legal assistance and life-skills trainings.

4. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): Activities in DRC’s portfolio include direct implementation of construction and rehabilitation works, distribution of WASH items, contracting local service providers, community awareness campaigns and providing adequate and safe water to IDPs and host communities.

DRC’s WASH activities complement camp management interventions in Al-Alam and the Qayyarah Airstrip. DRC also has substantial experience in implementing WASH projects in northern Ninewa and is the primary WASH actor in Zummar sub-district. DRC’s WASH intervention in northern Ninewa and Duhok have reached more than 98,000 people.

5. Income Generation: DRC’s livelihood activities are designed to promote both income-generation and social cohesion within communities. This is accomplished by linking the income-generation of different demographic groups who may experience tension due to local displacement dynamics and the resulting market effects.

DRC’s livelihood portfolio includes emergency interventions, such as unconditional cash distributions, short-term income generation and social cohesion projects, early recovery livelihood interventions that focus on improving market dynamics in displacement-affected communities and providing resources to job seekers.

Moving Forward

 In 2017, DRC continues to provide emergency assistance and early recovery opportunities to newly-displaced IDPs, protracted IDPs, returnees, host communities and other displacement- and conflict-affected populations throughout the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and south/central Iraq.

As the Mosul military operations wind down, DRC will adjust and scale its response as needed, to ensure that extremely vulnerable families will get access to life-saving support and resources.

While Iraqi forces continue their push back against IS and retake territory in Ninewa governorate, DRC has opened its office in Mosul to facilitate an effective and rapid response to humanitarian needs in and around the city. DRC also continues to build its presence in newly-accessible areas, such as Tikrit and Zummar, and close to inaccessible areas like Shirqat and Tel Afar, while maintaining its investment and commitment to communities throughout the country. In Anbar, preparations are underway to expand our presence in Fallujah with an office to support post-IS, early recovery efforts.

The Danish Demining Group (DDG)has worked in Iraq for almost 14 years, successfully providing Risk Education (RE) and performing Community Liaison (CL) in addition to Battle Area Clearance (BAC) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). DDG now have operations in several areas of Iraq with Risk Education and mine-clearance in the KRI, Risk Education in Anbar province as well as in Mosul and BAC, EOD and RE in Basra.

DDG Iraq´s strategy is to provide relevant humanitarian mine action assistance to the government of Iraq and the authorities in Kurdistan. In 2016, DDG conducted 18,146,788M² BAC, provided Risk Education to 179,077 beneficiaries and destroyed 14,092 explosive items.

In 2017, DDG has provided Risk Education to 108,767 beneficiaries, conducted 4,090,066M² BAC and destroyed 1886 items.