Iraqi refugees face destitution as UN cash runs out

Iraqi refugees face destitution as UN cash runs out
Essential health, sanitation and shelter programmes are in danger of closing down as violence rages and UN agencies struggles with lack of funding.
2 min read
22 July, 2015
Iraq needs critical funding for its water, sanitation and hygiene programmes [OCHA/Iason Athanasiadis]

Nearly 90 percent of all humanitarian and health programmes in Iraq will be closed by October if additional funding is not secured, the UN has warned.

UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, reported it had received only $6.3m of the $95m it requested for shelter and other non-food supplies.

"Limited funding continues to constrain and threaten the delivery of aid to people in need," the office said this week. "New displacements... ongoing population movements and insecurity make it difficult to deliver critically needed life-saving support to internally displaced people in hot spots."

About 40 percent of critically needed life-saving programmes will be forced to shut down by the end of the month, again due to lack of funding, the OCHA said.

"There is critical need for funding and supplies to cover Wash [water, sanitation and hygiene] service provision in new camps that are being established," it said.

"Of the $43.9 million requested under the Iraq humanitarian response plan for Wash support, only $3.9 million has been received thus far," it added.

Iraq is gripped by conflict and worsening humanitarian conditions, made worse since the Islamic State group launched its offensive last June.

Together with other armed groups, IS seized control of Mosul and large portions of northern Iraq, including areas of Diyala, Kirkuk, Nineveh, and Salaheddin provinces.


The ongoing armed conflict has led to a huge internal refugee crisis, and serious and systematic violations basic human rights, the UN said.

As a result, Iraq now has one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, with more than eight million people in need of humanitarian assistance as of this month.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said that at least 3.09 million people have been displaced between January 2014 and June 4 within 18 Iraqi provinces.

In Fallujah alone, more than 74,000 people have fled the violence since July 8.

The World Health Organisation last month appealed for $60 million to keep open vital health centres in conflict areas of Iraq.

The WHO's facilities make up 88 percent of health projects in conflict areas of the country, but the organisation fears it will be unable to continue supporting its 77 health centres, including 12 mobile clinics.