How to Help Iraq and Its Children
Since January 2014, Iraq has suffered from intense conflict and sectarian violence. More than 4 million people require humanitarian assistance, including nearly 2 million children, in 2020.
Although armed violence has declined, 4.3 million people have returned to areas where children and families continue to face the threat of violence and unexploded ordnances. After decades of conflict, the lack of essential services debilitates the recovery and resilience of millions of Iraqis as they attempt to rebuild their lives.
According to estimates from the World Bank and the Iraq Government, $88 billion is needed to rebuild Iraq, including the northern areas devastated during the war against terrorists. But despite international aid, so far, only a fraction of that has been received, an amount UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Marta Ruedas has called: “a drop in the ocean.”
1.5 million people — among them 728,000 children — are displaced, 70 percent of whom have been displaced for more than three years. With the country’s vital infrastructure crippled and opportunities to earn a living severely limited, families have no choice but to remain dependant upon humanitarian aid.
Only 39 percent of households have safely-managed drinking water
Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases endanger the vulnerable
Violence against children is extensive
Many children lack official identity documents, jeopardizing their access to basic services, including education
The poorest children are twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday
While efforts are underway to repair Iraq's damaged infrastructure or build new, it will take years to restore services. In the meantime, families who cannot meet their daily needs for food and water are going into debt and resorting to other measures that will only undermine their sustainability and future resilience.
UNICEF is on the ground helping Iraq's families rebuild their lives
Across Iraq, UNICEF is providing essential services for affected children and families. As of October 2019, UNICEF has provided:
- Access to safe water for more than 730.000 people
- Education supplies to 141,000 children
- Counseling and emotional support programs for 140,000 children and caregivers
- Routine measles vaccines for nealry 250,000 children under 1
- Cash transfers to support 3,354 of Iraq’s most vulnerable children