How To Help Iraq and Its Children

Since January 2014, Iraq has suffered from intense conflict and sectarian violence.  More than 6.7 million people require humanitarian assistance, including 3.3 million children, in 2019.

Although armed violence has declined, and over 4 million people are returning to their homes, children and families continue to face significant challenges. After decades of conflict, the effects of prolonged armed violence and destruction continue to impact families and children.

1.9 million people, including 900,000 children, remain displaced. With opportunities to earn a living severely limited, families have no choice but to remain dependant upon humanitarian aid. Eighteen percent of the population — over 6.7 million people (3.3 million girls or women, 3.3 million children under 18) — require at least one form of humanitarian assistance. 

Families returning to areas that sustained the greatest destruction must contend with a breakdown in services and erosion of the social fabric. Public services are overtaxed. Water and sanitation networks are damaged. An overburdened health system puts children at risk of disease outbreaks.

In some areas, over 90 percent of school-aged children are missing out on education.

While efforts are underway to repair Iraq's damaged infrastructure, or build new, it will take years to restore services. Around 60 percent of people in need have insufficient income to meet basic needs, and 34 percent say they must go into debt to purchase essential items. 

UNICEF is on the ground helping Iraq's families rebuild their lives

UNICEF and partners’ efforts to rehabilitate and rebuild the supply network have brought safe water to nearly 1.2 million people.

Crowded classrooms and displacement of teachers continue to present a challenge. But new pre-fab schools have been built and damaged schools repaired to improve the educations of more than 66,130 students across Anbar, Baghdad, Dahuk, and Ninewa. Catch-up classes are helping children who've been out of school begin to make up for lost time.

UNICEF will continue to support the protection of Iraq's most vulnerable children, including those displaced, unaccompanied, or believed to have some affiliation with extremist groups. UNICEF is working to broaden awareness of children’s needs and rights and developing parenting programs to help caregivers improve the skills they need to better care for and protect their children. 

UNICEF vaccinated more than 1.2 million Iraqi children against polio and measles in 2018. That work continues with a focus on providing immunization and nutrition services to children under 5, especially in areas with limited health care coverage.  

Across Iraq, UNICEF is providing essential services for affected children and families. Rapid delivery of food and water, temporary schools, child protection and psychosocial services and critical health care will help millions of people in Iraq in 2019.