Critical water shortages reported in southern Iraq
Source: UN Children s Fund
Basrah governorate is particularly impacted, with reduced water availability triggering new internal displacement, and an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness affecting more than 22,000 people.
- Since January UNICEF and partners trained 693 teachers (353 females) on education in emergencies. In August, 437 teachers participated in UNICEF-supported training sessions.
- Since the start of the year, UNICEF has delivered more than 2,800 tonnes of water treatment materials countrywide, contributing to an estimated 10 percent of the national annual requirement.
- In August, UNICEF increased support to health activities to include an extra four mobile teams in Salah al Din, for a total of 14 teams functional in that governorate. In the month, 13,396 children under 1-year-old were vaccinated against measles country-wide.
- Iraq is currently facing water shortages and water quality challenges which are most acute in southern governorates. In August, a scoping mission involving UNICEF investigated water scarcity and disease outbreak took place in southern Iraqi governorates. As of end-August UNICEF had provided financial support to Basrah health authorities for increased water quality monitoring, was in process of delivering a three-month stock of oral rehydration sachets (ORS) as part of treatment of people affected by gastroenteritis, was identifying needs for capacity building of local authority health staff, and working to strengthen coordination across the affected governorates of Basrah, Thi Qar, Missan, and Qadissiyah.
4 million children in need out of 8.7 million people affected
(OCHA, HRP 2018)
1.92 million internally displaced people (IDP)
4 million people returned to newly accessible areas
(IOM, Displacement Tracking Matrix, 31 August 2018)
Target population in 2018
Rapid Response: 1,030,000 IDPs
WASH: 1.3 million people
Education: 450,000 children
Health: 1.2 million children (polio)
Child Protection: 186,300 children and caregivers
UNICEF Appeal 2018
US$ 101.2 million
US $ 79.9 million
Situation Overview Humanitarian Needs
Iraq is currently facing water shortages that are expected to worsen in the short to medium term. The southern governorate of Basrah has been particularly affected, as low water levels in the main water source, the Tigris River, contribute to higher levels of water salinity, reducing water availability for drinking and personal use. Critical water scarcity has reportedly caused new internal displacement of around 630 families in the south, while an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness has affected more than 22,000 people. In combination with public dissatisfaction and more systemic issues including lack of access to jobs and high levels of corruption, the acute water crisis prompted renewed violent protests in August. Given the scale and complexity of the issues at hand, immediate needs include supporting government health staff and systems to identify and treat cases of gastrointestinal illness, and identifying immediate and medium-term measures to alleviate fresh water stress.
In Iraq, a measles outbreak has occurred every 2-4 years since 2007. In recent months, an increasing number of reported measles cases has been a growing concern. The most recent previous outbreak started in refugee camps in the north and spread to centre and southern governorates, resulting in 2,363 confirmed cases from 2013 to 2015. Iraq has seen a similar disease pattern in 2018, with a large majority of confirmed measles cases reported in northern governorates, including 254 confirmed cases (79 per cent of all confirmed cases) in Dahuk, Erbil, Ninewa, and Kirkuk. In addition, measles has also begun affecting central and southern governorates. As of mid-July 2018, a total of 648 cases had been reported, of which 323 (50 per cent) were laboratory-confirmed. Children below 5-years-old represent 75 per cent of confirmed cases, and 62 per cent of total confirmed cases have not received any dose of measles vaccine. A challenge has been concerns about quality of the current surveillance data with potential under-reporting of cases.
In August, owing to lack of funding, highly critical intersectoral service gaps for IDP response were reported in 140 sites including 37 formal camps, impacting an estimated 393,177 displaced people. Gaps include limited access to health care, food, adequate WASH and shelter. Many sites reported children to be engaged in labour and lacking access to education. Despite the overall improvements in internal security in Iraq in 2018, for both returnees and internally displaced people (IDP), extensive humanitarian needs remain. More than four million people, including two million children, have returned to their homes, while 1.9 million people, including 1 million children, remain internally displaced across the country. Of these 570,294 internally displaced persons (IDP) remain in camps and 1.35 million people remain in non-camp locations, including nearly 167,604 living in critical shelter arrangements. Between January and August 2018, the returnee population increased by around 808,332 individuals. An estimated 97 per cent of all returning populations have returned to their own houses, 2 percent to private settings (e.g., rented homes, homes of relatives), while 1 percent (around 19,000 individuals including 10,000 children) remain highly vulnerable and in critical shelter even in their place of return. In these areas, people - especially children - continue to face insecurity, risks posed by explosive remnants of war (ERW), damage to homes and municipal infrastructure including schools, health centres, and water and sanitation networks, as well as limited access to public services and livelihood opportunities.
On 26 August, an earthquake of 6.2 magnitude struck western Iran, with tremors felt across the Iraq border in the KRI, Diyala, Kirkuk, and Baghdad governorates of Iraq. No reports were received of injury, loss of life, or infrastructure damage in Iraq. The Ministry of Construction and Housing is investigating the possibility of setting technical and engineering regulations and standards to reduce landslide risks in areas likely to be affected by earthquake.