Iraq humanitarian aid in winter | Action Against Hunger

In Iraq, winter weather leaves millions in need

Many internally displaced people in Northern Iraq are living in precarious conditions that are exposed to the elements, such as open spaces, camps, unfinished buildings, and schools.

By Action Against Hunger

Dec 8 2014

Since January 2014, more than 2.1 million people have been displaced across Iraq—900,000 of whom have taken refuge in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), in the nation’s north. Many internally displaced people are living in precarious conditions that are exposed to the elements, such as open spaces, camps, unfinished buildings and schools.

Video: Our response in KRI


Action Against Hunger has been working in the region for months, responding to the growing needs of an influx of displaced people. In the video below, Juan Gabriel Wells, our Deputy Country Director for KRI, talks about our comprehensive response in Dohuk Governorate, which includes psycho-social support, water, sanitation and hygiene projects, and food assistance.

Responding to urgent winter needs

In addition to highlighting what we’ve provided so far, Juan Gabriel points out the urgent need for winter supplies. “We’re also very worried about the winterisation needs of a lot of internally displaced people,” he says. “The temperatures have dropped drastically, and they will keep dropping.” Winter conditions are getting harsher by the day—in many areas of the country, displaced communities have already been hit by cold and rain, and the first snow is expected in the mountainous areas soon. 

We’re responding to the urgent need for winter clothing for displaced people settled in Garmawa camp. In collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and the Centre de Crise, we distributed 3,100 winter kits containing blankets, clothing, jackets, scarves, boots, hats and raincoats. Vanessa Rubio, our Programme Manager in Dohuk, explains the challenges of this kind of operation:

“Once we counted people and identified their needs, our main challenge was choosing the right suppliers so we could get quality clothes suitable for winter in the camp. The other major issue was delivery. We had to make sure our suppliers could deliver the clothing on time, before winter strikes.”
-Vanessa Rubio, Programme Manager, Action Against Hunger-KRI

Winter kit distribution is part of our ongoing programming in KRI, where nearly 200 team members are in the field every day to support both displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees.

Even with these efforts and similar programs run by our humanitarian partners in the region, there is still much to be done. If cold-weather response is not scaled up significantly, displaced communities will feel the negative effects throughout the winter months and beyond. With your support, we can reach even more displaced families in need with critical winter supplies.  

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Photo credits: © Florian Seriex