On 10 April, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) together with the United Nations and its partners held a high-level joint conference on the priority needs in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Over one million internally displaced people and refugees have sought safety in Erbil, Dahuk and Sulaymaniyah governorates since January 2014. With the end of large-scale military offensives in late 2017, many families have been returning and are trying to rebuild their lives and homes. Close to 30 per cent of displaced Iraqis and nearly all of the 250,000 Syrian refugees in the country are living in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. This year, humanitarian partners estimate that approximately 736,000 people living in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, nearly half of them children, will require some form of humanitarian assistance.
In 2018, the humanitarian community, comprised of UN agencies, national and international NGOs and other partners, is requesting US$ 569 million through the Humanitarian Response Plan to respond to the needs of 3.4 million of the most vulnerable people in Iraq. In order to deliver humanitarian assistance to 600,000 most vulnerable people in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the Humanitarian Community in Iraq is seeking US$ 156 million in financial support to implement activities outlined in the response plan.
“With the help of its international partners, the KRG has been able to provide critical humanitarian assistance, safety and security to over 1.5 million internally displaced Iraqis and 250,000 Syrian refugees” said H.E. Karim Sinjari, Minister of Interior, while emphasising that “with continued support and collaboration of the international community, we can and are committed to do even more for the 1.1 million displaced people and 248,000 refugees still hosted in our region until safe, voluntary and dignified return is made possible.”
Additionally, Minister Karim Sinjari stated that “displacement is protracted and return might take years. An important step is therefore to recognize that the displaced people, refugees and the newly displaced as well as the host communities will continue to need assistance in 2018 and beyond.”
“The humanitarian crisis in Iraq has entered a new phase with the end of large-scale military operations. Nevertheless, protection continues to be the overriding humanitarian priority both in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq; thousands of people have been already or are newly displaced and families have started returning to their homes,” said Mr Ramanathan Balakrishnan, the acting Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.
“Given the scale of the existing humanitarian needs, the United Nations and its partners in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq remain committed to providing essential services and assistance packages to the vulnerable population, in particular those traumatised by the violence. Therefore, it is imperative that we continue to have strong international support for this year’s response plan,” added Mr Balakrishnan.
The Kurdistan Regional Government and the Joint Crisis Coordination Centre have provided a conducive environment for the work of the UN agencies and international NGOs towards meeting the humanitarian needs of Iraqis. However, local resources remain stretched.
The Kurdistan Regional Government and the Humanitarian Community will continue to coordinate humanitarian assistance to continue responding to the needs and challenges faced by displaced people and returnees across the region.