Responding to the crisis in Iraq

Shariya school near Dohuk hosting displaced people
The Governorate of Dohuk hosts some 520,000 internally displaced people, in addition to 215,000 Syrian refugees ©UNDP

Iraq is currently facing one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world. More than 1.9 million Iraqis have been displaced by violence since January 2014 and many are in urgent need of help.


  • UNDP leads the Social Cohesion and Sustainable Livelihoods cluster (for IDPs) and the Livelihoods Sector (Syrian refugees)
  • UNDP leads the resilience response in close cooperation with UNHCR
  • UNDP supports 12 community-based livelihoods and small infrastructure projects amounting to US$ 2.3 million in total
  • UNDP prevents gender-based violence through legal aid clinics in camps in Erbil, Dohuk, Suleymaniyah, Basrah
  • UNDP joins forces with UN-Habitat, IOM and local governments to provide prefabricated shelters to 12,500 vulnerable IDPs in Dohuk, Erbil, Suleymaniyah

The security situation is unpredictable and could lead to additional suffering of civilians and fresh waves of displacement. Minority communities, children, women and the elderly are especially vulnerable.

More than half of these newly displaced Iraqis are receiving shelter in the Kurdistan Region. Children make up almost half of the displaced in northern Iraq.

The UN and humanitarian partners are providing emergency life-saving shelter, food, clean water and sanitation, and medical aid to hundreds of thousands of displaced people.

With Iraq already playing host to more than 215,000 refugees from the conflict in Syria, the crisis is challenging the capacity of the federal, regional and local authorities to provide even the most basic of services.

UNDP is supporting the Iraqi authorities in strengthening their crisis coordination capacity to effectively respond. UNDP is also providing assistance to local authorities, helping to build community infrastructure as needs arise, by for example, digging fresh water wells and improving environmental sanitation.

Serious human rights abuses have been reported against civilians, and many displaced people are traumatized. UNDP and its non-government partners are building on previous efforts with Syrian refugees in northern and central Iraq to intensify legal aid services and psycho-social support for those affected, especially for youth and victims of gender-based violence.

UNDP has started a mine action programme, which shall reach out to 100,000 displaced people and refugees in Kurdistan.

UNDP is working with other agencies and partners to provide livelihoods opportunities for refugees, displaced people and the communities hosting them. Short-term cash transfer activities also address the needs of the most vulnerable families.

Finally, UNDP steps-up its support to strengthening legal, judicial and security sector reform to help the government address the plight of the displaced and improve governance structures.

Small grants for NGOs/CSOs: call for proposals

UNDP calls for project proposals to address the needs of the displaced in Kurdistan. Deadline: 23 October 2014. CLOSED.

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Related documents
  • UNDP-UNHCR Operational Framework for Iraq, 23 Nov 2014 English
  • Strategic Response Plan 2014-2015 English | Kurdish
  • Immediate Response Plan (IRP) for the IDPs in KR-I Sep-Nov 2014 English | Arabic
  • Strategic Response Plan 2014 Revision Feb-Jun 2014 English
  • Iraq Displacement Snapshot, 14 Oct 2014 English
Iraq: funding in 2014 (all agencies)

Financial tracking service (FTS)

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