Iraq displaced crisis | Action Against Hunger

An uncertain future for Iraq's displaced

In August 2014, hundreds of thousands of people fled fighting in the Sinjar region and the Ninewah Governorate, and headed to Iraqi Kurdistan. A year later, their struggle continues.


By Action Against Hunger

Aug 4 2015

The majority of those displaced a year ago left the temporary shelters they had stayed in for the first few months and moved to camps of varying living standards. Many of the mountainous areas remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors.

In the city of Zakho, in the Dohuk Governorate, there were simply too many displaced families needing relocation. As a result, thousands of them spent winter in unfinished buildings, huddling in tarpaulin crammed between pieces of wood. Now, they have to battle the summer heat here.

That’s also the case in what has become known as ‘Dalal City’: a dozen unfinished buildings located a few kilometres from Zakho. More than 1,500 people have found refuge in these substandard buildings. “When they arrived, there was nothing other than these skeletons made of concrete: no water, no toilets,” said Charles Strickland, Action Against Hunger’s Iraq country director. “A year later, these people are still there. The situation is serious.”  

Action Against Hunger has been working in Dalal City since the early days of the emergency and as needs have changed, so we’ve adapted our response. We have distributed emergency food rations as well as food vouchers, hygiene kits, we have installed latrines and water tanks, and provided psychological and social support for this largely forgotten population.

A humanitarian crisis that’s fallen off the radar

The number of displaced and vulnerable households in Iraq is rising sharply. International military action against the Islamic State appears to have been prioritised by States at the expense of funding for emergency social and humanitarian work: only 32 per cent of the needs identified by the United Nations (UN) for 2015 have been covered. The UN’s World Food Programme has already been forced to halve its food rations and the value of vouchers distributed to families. Other cuts may well follow. 


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