Iraq flag

Iraq Iraq RSS Feed

2014 UNHCR country operations profile - Iraq

| Overview |

Working environment

  • Internal sectarian tensions and divisions are still polarizing Iraq, while the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) continues to feed instability in the region.

  • Iraq is not only receiving large numbers of Syrian refugees, but is also seeing the return of many Iraqi refugees, particularly from Syria. Often these returnees cannot go back to their places of origin, leading to new secondary displacement inside Iraq.

  • With the growing number of Syrian refugees putting additional strains on local infrastructure and essential services, which were already significantly weakened by the years of war and instability, access to basic services for the Iraqi population itself remains problematic. Stagnant socio-economic development further affects daily life in Iraq, while institutional capacity remains limited. These conditions hamper the ability of internally displaced people to return home. With this context, UNHCR and its partners deliver assistance and protection to vulnerable groups which are often located in remote areas.

  • Although Iraq is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, the country has long been a host to refugees. A new refugee law has been drafted, and is pending with the Iraq Parliament and the Shura Council.

  • In 2013, the Government of Iraq has made significant financial contributions to support UNHCR's activities for Syrian refugees in Al Qa'im, Anbar governorate, and the Kurdistan regions since the early stages of the Syrian crisis.

People of concern

In 2014, the main populations of concern in Iraq will include: refugees and asylum-seekers from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey who are mostly of Kurdish origin, and fled over a decade ago; Palestinians who were granted asylum by the previous regime, most of whom live in camps, settlements and urban areas across Iraq, mainly in the Kurdistan Region, but also in Baghdad and other central governorates; Syrians, the majority of whom currently reside in the Kurdistan Region or in Anbar Governorate; and growing numbers of Iraqi refugees returning to Iraq from neighbouring countries. There are approximately 1 million IDPs and 110,000 stateless people in Iraq who will be eligible for assistance from UNHCR.

Planning figures

UNHCR 2014 planning figures for Iraq
TYPE OF POPULATION ORIGIN Dec 2013 Dec 2014 Dec 2015
Total in country of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total 1,591,690 991,690 1,623,890 1,033,890 1,336,010 756,010
Refugees Palestinian 12,000 12,000 12,200 12,200 12,400 12,400
Syrian Arab Rep. 350,000 350,000 500,000 500,000 350,000 350,000
Turkey 15,500 15,500 15,650 15,650 15,850 15,850
Various 8,450 8,450 9,780 9,780 11,110 11,110
Asylum-seekers Islamic Rep. of Iran 3,260 3,260 3,460 3,460 3,650 3,650
Syrian Arab Rep. 1,200 1,200 1,300 1,300 1,400 1,400
Turkey 1,200 1,200 1,400 1,400 1,500 1,500
Various 80 80 100 100 100 100
Returnee arrivals during year (ex-refugees) Iraq 40,000 40,000 40,000 40,000 20,000 20,000
Internally displaced Iraq 1,000,000 500,000 900,000 400,000 800,000 300,000
Returnee arrivals during year (ex-IDPs) Iraq 50,000 50,000 40,000 40,000 30,000 30,000
Stateless people Stateless 110,000 10,000 100,000 10,000 90,000 10,000

| Response |

Needs and strategies

UNHCR works with the Government, humanitarian stakeholders and donors in Iraq to provide protection and durable solutions for people of concern. Priority areas will be advocacy, legal and protection interventions, basic assistance and support to IDPs in newly and protracted displacement situations, as well as capacity building of governmental and national non-governmental organization (NGO) partners.

The Office will strive to enhance asylum space through coordination on protection issues, capacity-building for national counterparts and NGOs, as well as enhanced monitoring and assessment of the protection environment.

UNHCR will continue to review the international protection needs of residents who were transferred from Camp New Iraq (formerly Ashraf ) to Hurriya in Baghdad within the framework of the memorandum of understanding signed on 25 December 2011 between the Government of Iraq and UNAMI, and will continue to assist the Government in finding a durable solution for those in need of international protection.

Greater emphasis will be placed on ensuring sustainable local integration as a durable solution for refugees, refugee returnees and IDP returnees. The Office will seek, in collaboration with the Government, to establish a strengthened social safety net for the most vulnerable people.

UNHCR will also work closely with partners and civil society institutions to enhance its response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), through improved monitoring, increased capacity dedicated to prevention and awareness-raising, and an enhanced network of quality legal, medical and social or psycho-social services for referral.

The strategy for addressing the needs of Syrian refugees will encompass protection and registration, monitoring of SGBV, and the provision of life-sustaining assistance and services in the camps. Special attention will be given to outreach for Syrian refugees in urban areas.

| Implementation |

Coordination

In 2014, UNHCR will continue to focus on the need for sustainable and inclusive programmes that provide linkages to key national entities, other UN agencies and development actors. It will therefore invest in building national partnerships to ensure that programmes can be sustained in the long-term. It will also advocacate for refugees to be included in national development programmes. In 2014, UNHCR will concentrate on strengthening coordination and collaboration with partners, including UNAMI, UN agencies, the Government and line ministries.

Moreover, UNHCR will continue to coordinate the international humanitarian response to the Syrian refugee emergency and a coordination mechanism will be maintained in Baghdad, co-led by UNHCR and the Ministry of Displacement and Migration, with the participation of concerned UN agencies, NGOs and other humanitarian actors.

2014 UNHCR partners in Iraq
Government of Iraq and Kurdistan Regional Government: Bureau of Displacement and Migration, Department of Displacement and Migration, Implementation and Follow-up Committee for National Reconciliation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Migration and Displacement
NGOs: Agence d'Aide à la Coopération Technique et au Développement, AlKhair Humanitarian Organization, Association for Cultural Development for Civil Society, Association for Development for Civil Society, Association for Human Rights, Civil Development Organization, Consulting Bureau of Iraqi Engineering Union, Danish Refugee Council, Fuad, Happy Family Organization for Relief and Development, Harikar NGO, International Medical Corps, International Relief and Development, International Rescue Committee, INTERSOS, Iraq Board for Human Rights, Iraqi Humanitarian League for Human Rights, Iraqi Salvation Humanitarian Organization, Iraqi Youth League, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Kurdish Human Rights Watch, Mercy Corps, Millennium Relief and Development Services, Muslim Aid, Norwegian Refugee Council, Public Aid Organization, Qandil, Rafha Organization for Relief and Development, REACH, Rebuild Iraq Recruitment Programme, Resurrecting Iraqi People Centre, Save the Children Federation, Uruk, Women Development and Support Organization
Others: ICRC, IOM, MSB (Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency), OCHA, UN Women, UN-Habitat, UNICEF, United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), UNOPS, WFP, WHO

| Financial information |

In recent years, the financial requirements for UNHCR's operation in Iraq have seen an overall increase from USD 239 million in 2010 to a revised budget of USD 293.7 million. This rise was primarily to address the needs related to the Syria Situation. While UNHCR's financial requirements for the Syria Situation will be reflected in the Regional Response Plan for Syrian refugees (RRP6), the overall budget for Iraq in 2014 is set at USD 216 million, a decrease from 2013 due to a drop in shelter construction. These financial requirements are based on the best estimates for 2014 using the information available as of mid-2013. In light of the evolving situation in Syria, any additional requirements, as they relate to the Syria emergency, will be presented in the Regional Response Plan for Syrian refugees (RRP6) and the Syrian Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP), with the situation undergoing further review in the course of 2014.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2014-2105

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •
Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Iraq [1]
Refugees [2] 246,298
Asylum Seekers [3] 5,991
Returned Refugees [4] 60,881
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 954,128
Returned IDPs [6] 63,270
Stateless Persons [7] 120,000
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 1,450,568
Originating from Iraq [1]
Refugees [2]
More info 401,417
Refugee figures for Iraqis in Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic are Government estimates. UNHCR has registered and is assisting 48,600 Iraqis in both countries at year-end.
Asylum Seekers [3] 43,142
Returned Refugees [4] 60,881
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 954,128
Returned IDPs [6] 63,270
Various [8] 17
Total Population of Concern 1,522,855
Government Contributions to UNHCR
2013 Contributions Breakdown
Total contribution in USD: 9,965,812 [rank: 21]
Total contribution in currency: 11,660,000,000 (IQD)
Donor ranking per GDP: 9
Donor ranking per capita: 24
2013 Contributions chart
Contributions since 2000
YearUSD
2014 0
2013
More info 9,965,812
Total contribution in USD: 9,965,812 [rank: 21]
Total contribution in currency: 11,660,000,000 (IQD)
Donor ranking per GDP: 9
Donor ranking per capita: 24
2012 0
2011 0
2010 0
2009 0
2008
More info 8,000,000
Total contribution in USD: 8,000,000 (rank: 20)
Total contribution in currency: -
Donor ranking per GDP: 5
Donor ranking per capita: 25
2007 0
2006 0
2005 0
2004 0
2003 0
2002 0
2001 0
2000 0
Private Sector Contributions to UNHCR
Private sector fund raising 2013

Total contribution in USD: 613,380
Total contribution in currency: 378,332,000 (IQD); 290,019 (USD)
2013 Contributions chart
Contributions since 2006
YearUSD
2014 0
2013
More info 613,380

Total contribution in USD: 613,380
Total contribution in currency: 378,332,000 (IQD); 290,019 (USD)
2012 0
2011 0
2010 0
2009 0
2008 0
2007 0
2006 0

Iraq UNHCR Fundraising Reports Rss FeedUNHCR Fundraising Reports

more documents

Iraq UNHCR Maps Rss FeedUNHCR Maps

more documents

Crisis in Iraq: Displacement

UNHCR and its partners estimate that out of a total population of 26 million, some 1.9 million Iraqis are currently displaced internally and more than 2 million others have fled to nearby countries. While many people were displaced before 2003, increasing numbers of Iraqis are now fleeing escalating sectarian, ethnic and general violence. Since January 2006, UNHCR estimates that more than 800,000 Iraqis have been uprooted and that 40,000 to 50,000 continue to flee their homes every month. UNHCR anticipates there will be approximately 2.3 million internally displaced people within Iraq by the end of 2007. The refugee agency and its partners have provided emergency assistance, shelter and legal aid to displaced Iraqis where security has allowed.

In January 2007, UNHCR launched an initial appeal for US$60 million to fund its Iraq programme. Despite security issues for humanitarian workers inside the country, UNHCR and partners hope to continue helping up to 250,000 of the most vulnerable internally displaced Iraqis and their host communities

Posted on 12 June 2007

Crisis in Iraq: Displacement

Non-Iraqi Refugees in Jordan

After Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled in Iraq in 2003, groups of refugees who had lived in the country for many years tried to leave the chaos and lawlessness that soon ensued. Hundreds of people started fleeing to the border with Jordan, including Palestinians in Baghdad and Iranian Kurds from the Al Tash refugee camp in central Iraq.

Aside from a few Palestinians with family connections inside the neighbouring country, the refugees were refused entry and free movement in Jordan. Thousands were soon stranded in the no-man's land between Iraq and Jordan or at the desert camp of Ruweished, located 60 kilometres inside Jordan.

Since 2003, Palestinians, Iranian Kurds, Iranians, Sudanese and Somalis have been living there and suffering the scorching heat and freezing winters of the Jordanian desert. UNHCR and its partners have provided housing and assistance and tried to find solutions – the agency has helped resettle more than 1,000 people in third countries. At the beginning of 2007, a total of 119 people – mostly Palestinians – remained in Ruweished camp without any immediate solution in sight.

Posted on 20 February 2007

Non-Iraqi Refugees in Jordan

Iraqi Refugees in Jordan

The UN refugee agency has launched a US$60 million appeal to fund its work helping hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people. The new appeal concludes that unremitting violence in Iraq will likely mean continued mass internal and external displacement affecting much of the surrounding region. The appeal notes that the current exodus is the largest long-term population movement in the Middle East since the displacement of Palestinians following the creation of Israel in 1948.

UNHCR has warned that the longer this conflict goes on, the more difficult it will become for the hundreds of thousands of displaced and the communities that are trying to help them – both inside and outside Iraq. Because the burden on host communities and governments in the region is enormous, it is essential that the international community support humanitarian efforts.

The US$60 million will cover UNHCR's protection and assistance programmes for Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey, as well as non-Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people within Iraq itself.

Posted on 10 January 2007

Iraqi Refugees in Jordan

Palestinians Refugees in Iraq

Since the overthrow in 2003 of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, Palestinian refugees in Baghdad have increasingly become the targets of arrest, kidnapping, threats and murder, prompting thousands to flee the capital.

There are still an estimated 15,000 Palestinians in Iraq – compared to more than double that number in 2003. They live in constant fear, many without proper documentation. For those who try to leave, the trip to Iraq's border with Syria and Jordan is increasingly dangerous. Hundreds are stuck at the Iraq-Syrian border, too scared to go back and unable to cross the frontier. Those who do manage to leave Iraq, often do so illegally.

International support is urgently needed to find a temporary humanitarian solution for the Palestinians. UNHCR has repeatedly appealed to the international community and countries in the region to offer refuge to the Palestinians. The refugee agency has also approached resettlement countries, but only Canada and Syria have responded positively. Syria has since closed its borders to other desperate Palestinians.

UNHCR also advocates for better protection of the Palestinian community inside Iraq.

Palestinians Refugees in Iraq

Iraqi Children Go To School in Syria

UNHCR aims to help 25,000 refugee children go to school in Syria by providing financial assistance to families and donating school uniforms and supplies.

There are some 1.4 million Iraqi refugees living in Syria, most having fled the extreme sectarian violence sparked by the bombing of the Golden Mosque of Samarra in 2006.

Many Iraqi refugee parents regard education as a top priority, equal in importance to security. While in Iraq, violence and displacement made it difficult for refugee children to attend school with any regularity and many fell behind. Although education is free in Syria, fees associated with uniforms, supplies and transportation make attending school impossible. And far too many refugee children have to work to support their families instead of attending school.

To encourage poor Iraqi families to register their children, UNHCR plans to provide financial assistance to at least 25,000 school-age children, and to provide uniforms, books and school supplies to Iraqi refugees registered with UNHCR. The agency will also advise refugees of their right to send their children to school, and will support NGO programmes for working children.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Iraqi Children Go To School in Syria

Iraqi Refugees in Syria: 2,000 New Arrivals Daily

The UN refugee agency is increasingly alarmed over the continuing violence in Iraq and distressed about the lack of an international humanitarian response to deal with the massive numbers of people being displaced. After an assessment mission in November last year, UNHCR officials warned that the agency was facing an even larger humanitarian crisis than it had prepared for in 2002-03. But UNHCR and other organisations are sorely lacking in funds to cope with the growing numbers of displaced.

In an effort to fill the massive gap in funding, UNHCR in January 2007 launched a US$60 million appeal to cover its protection and assistance programmes for Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey, as well as non Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people within strife torn Iraq.

The longer the Iraq conflict goes on, the more difficult it will become for the hundreds of thousands of displaced and the communities that are trying to help them – both inside and outside Iraq. Because the burden on host communities and governments in the region is enormous, it is essential that the international community support humanitarian efforts.

Posted on 5 February 2007

Iraqi Refugees in Syria: 2,000 New Arrivals Daily

Angelina Jolie returns to Iraq, urges support for the displaced

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie returned to Iraq in July 2009 to offer support to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who remain displaced within their own country.

During her day-long visit to Baghdad, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie visited a makeshift settlement for internally displaced people in north-west Baghdad where she met families displaced from the district of Abu Ghraib, located to the west of Baghdad, and from the western suburbs of the capital.

Despite the difficulties in Iraq, Jolie said this was a moment of opportunity for Iraqis to rebuild their lives. "This is a moment where things seem to be improving on the ground, but Iraqis need a lot of support and help to rebuild their lives."

UNHCR estimates that 1.6 million Iraqis were internally displaced by a wave of sectarian warfare that erupted in February 2006 after the bombing of a mosque in the ancient city of Samarra. Almost 300,000 people have returned to their homes amid a general improvement in the security situation since mid-2008.

Angelina Jolie returns to Iraq, urges support for the displaced

The internally displaced of Iraq

Eight years after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, over 1.5 million people remain displaced throughout Iraq, including 500,000 who live in dire conditions in settlements or public buildings. For these very vulnerable people, daily life is a struggle with limited access to clean water, electricity, heath services or schools for their children. Many families who live illegally in informal settlements are at risk of eviction. Most of the internally displaced fled their homes because of sectarian violence which erupted in 2006 following the bombing of the Al-Askari shrine in Samarra. UNHCR works with the Government of Iraq on projects such as land allocation; shelter assistance and house reconstruction to try to find long term solutions for the displaced.

The internally displaced of Iraq

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie meets Iraqi refugees in Syria

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie returned to the Syrian capital Damascus on 2 October, 2009 to meet Iraqi refugees two years after her last visit. The award-winning American actress, accompanied by her partner Brad Pitt, took the opportunity to urge the international community not to forget the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees who remain in exile despite a relative improvement in the security situation in their homeland. Jolie said most Iraqi refugees cannot return to Iraq in view of the severe trauma they experienced there, the uncertainty linked to the coming Iraqi elections, the security issues and the lack of basic services. They will need continued support from the international community, she said. The Goodwill Ambassador visited the homes of two vulnerable Iraqi families in the Jaramana district of southern Damascus. She was particularly moved during a meeting with a woman from a religious minority who told Jolie how she was physically abused and her son tortured after being abducted earlier this year in Iraq and held for days. They decided to flee to Syria, which has been a generous host to refugees.

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie meets Iraqi refugees in Syria

An Infant's Journey to Safety

Three days after giving birth to her fourth child, a girl she named Hawler, Peroz concluded that the situation in her hometown of Hassake, Syria, was too dangerous for her children. She decided to make the difficult journey to northern Iraq. Along the way, she and Hawler were sick. "I was terrified the baby might die," said Peroz, 27.

Although the border was closed, guards felt compassion for the newborn child and let Peroz's family enter. A few days later Peroz and her children were reunited with their father and now they are living with hundreds of other refugees in a small park on the outskirts of Erbil.

Battling mosquitoes and soaring daytime temperatures, and with little more than blankets for comfort and a breakfast of bread and cheese for nourishment, Peroz and her husband hope to be transferred to a new tented settlement.

Over the past few weeks, tens of thousands of Syrians have flooded into northern Iraq, fleeing violence. With existing camps at full capacity, many refugee families are finding shelter anywhere they can. The local government has started transferring people from Qushtapa Park to a nearby camp. UNHCR is registering the refugees, as well as providing tents and life-saving assistance.

An Infant's Journey to Safety

Erbil's Children: Syrian Refugees in Urban Iraq

Some of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees are children who have sought shelter in urban areas with their families. Unlike those in camps, refugees living in towns and cities in countries like Iraq, Turkey and Jordan often find it difficult to gain access to aid and protection. In a refugee camp, it is easier for humanitarian aid organizations such as UNHCR to provide shelter and regular assistance, including food, health care and education. Finding refugees in urban areas, let alone helping them, is no easy task.

In Iraq, about 100,000 of the 143,000 Syrian refugees are believed to be living in urban areas - some 40 per cent of them are children aged under 18 years. The following photographs, taken in the northern city of Erbil by Brian Sokol, give a glimpse into the lives of some of these young urban refugees. They show the harshness of daily life as well as the resilience, adaptability and spirit of young people whose lives have been overturned in the past two years.

Life is difficult in Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The cost of living is high and it is difficult to find work. The refugees must also spend a large part of their limited resources on rent. UNHCR and its partners, including the Kurdish Regional Government, struggle to help the needy.

Erbil's Children: Syrian Refugees in Urban Iraq

Syrians stream from their war-torn country into Iraq's Kurdistan region

Thousands of Syrians streamed across a bridge over the Tigris River and into Iraq's Kurdistan region on Thursday, August 15th. UNHCR Field Officer, Galiya Gubaeva, was on the ground with her camera.

Syrians stream from their war-torn country into Iraq's Kurdistan region

Iraq: Massive displacement from Mosul

In the past few days, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have fled fighting in the northern city of Mosul and other areas. UNHCR staff are on the ground to monitor the outflow and help those in need. The needs are immense, but UNHCR is working to provide shelter, protection, and emergency items, including tents. Many of the displaced left their homes without belongings and some lack money for housing, food, water or medical care. They arrive at checkpoints between Ninewa governorate and the Kurdistan region with no idea of where to go next, or how to pay expenses.

UN agencies, humanitarian groups, and government officials are coordinating efforts to do what they can to aid those in need. UN agencies are making an emergency request for additional support. UNHCR is hoping to provide emergency kits as well as thousands of tents. UNHCR and its partners will also be working to protect and help the displaced.

The exodus in the north comes on top of massive displacement this year in the western Iraqi governorate of Anbar, where fighting since January has forced some half-a-million people to flee the province or seek shelter in safer areas.

Iraq: Massive displacement from Mosul

Iraq Crisis: Finding a Place to Stay

Tens of thousands of people have fled to Erbil and Duhok governorates in Iraq's Kurdistan region over the past week, sheltering in schools, mosques, churches and temporary camps following a surge of violence in parts of central and northern Iraq. UNHCR and its partners have been working to meet the urgent shelter needs. The refugee agency has delivered close to 1,000 tents to a transit camp being built by the authorities and NGOs at Garmawa, near Duhok.

Many of the people arriving from Mosul at checkpoints between Ninewa and governorate and Iraq's Kurdistan region have limited resources and cannot afford to pay for shelter. Some people stay with family, while others are staying in hotels and using up their meagre funds.

In the village of Alqosh, some 150 people from 20 families, with little more than the clothes on their back, have been living in several overcrowded classrooms in a primary school for the past week. One member of the group said they had lived in a rented apartment in Mosul and led a normal family life. But in Alqosh, they feared for the welfare and education of their children and the presence of snakes and scorpions.

Iraq Crisis: Finding a Place to Stay

A Day with the Doctor: A Syrian Refugee Treats Refugees in Iraq

Hassan is a qualified surgeon, but by a twist of fate he now finds himself specializing in the treatment of refugees. In 2006, as conflict raged in Iraq, he spent 10 weeks treating hundreds of ill and injured Iraqis at a refugee camp in eastern Syria.

Six years later his own world turned upside down. Fleeing the bloodshed in his native Syria, Doctor Hassan escaped to neighbouring Iraq in May 2012 and sought refuge in the homeland of his former patients. "I never imagined that I would one day be a refugee myself," he says. "It's like a nightmare."

Like many refugees, Hassan looked for ways to put his skills to use and support his family. At Domiz Refugee Camp in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, he found work in a clinic run by Médecins Sans Frontières. He works long hours, mainly treating diarrhoea and other preventable illnesses. More than half of his patients are Syrian refugee children - not unlike his own two boys.

During the two days that photographer Brian Sokol followed Hassan, he rarely stood still for more than a few minutes. His day was a blur of clinical visits punctuated by quick meals and hurried hellos. When not working in the clinic, he was making house calls to refugees' tents late into the night.

A Day with the Doctor: A Syrian Refugee Treats Refugees in Iraq

Iraq: Preparing for Winter in DohukPlay video

Iraq: Preparing for Winter in Dohuk

Efforts are under way in Syria, Iraq and neighbouring countries to prepare refugees and the internally displaced for winter. But UNHCR remains deeply concerned that a $58.45 million funding shortfall could leave as many as a million people out in the cold.

Iraq: The Generous GiverPlay video

Iraq: The Generous Giver

An estimated 1.8 million Iraqis have been internally displaced since the beginning of the year, with nearly half seeking refuge in the Kurdistan Region. As weary families began pouring into Dohuk, one local businessman built them a small camp equipped with tents, water, sanitation and electricity.

Iraq: Breaking BreadPlay video

Iraq: Breaking Bread

Shareef fled to Iraq a year ago to escape the violence in Syria. He opened a bakery, which has done great business. When he heard about a new wave of displacement in northern Iraq in August, he decided to help those in need by providing bread.

Iraq: Moving to a New Camp in KhankePlay video

Iraq: Moving to a New Camp in Khanke

A new camp for displaced people is taking shape in the village of Khanke in Iraq's Kurdistan region, with the help of UNHCR and its partners. After weeks of uncomfortable living in the courtyard of an old public building, Chenar and her ethnic Yazidi family are looking forward to moving to the new facility.

Iraq: Massive UNHCR Aid OperationPlay video

Iraq: Massive UNHCR Aid Operation

The UN refugee agency is conducting a massive aid operation to assist some 500,000 Iraqis displaced by conflict in northern Iraq. It includes airlifts, and transport of aid by road and sea.

Iraq: UNHCR Aid Airlift Play video

Iraq: UNHCR Aid Airlift

UNHCR launches one of its largest aid pushes with an airlift of emergency relief supplies to Iraq's Kurdistan region. Aid is being brought in by air, land and sea to help close to a half million people who have been displaced by violence in northern Iraq.

A Lifetime of Waiting: Born in Hagadera camp, Sarah has never once left its confines.Play video

A Lifetime of Waiting: Born in Hagadera camp, Sarah has never once left its confines.

A Lifetime of Waiting: Born in Hagadera camp, Sarah has never once left its confines.

Iraq: Camp expands to cope with new influxPlay video

Iraq: Camp expands to cope with new influx

A former transit camp for Syrian refugees in northern Iraq is being reconfigured and expanded to meet the needs of a growing number of displaced people.

Iraq: Children traumatised by the terror of flightPlay video

Iraq: Children traumatised by the terror of flight

When militants attacked Sinjar and other towns in northern Iraq in early August, tens of thousands of people fled into the mountains. They included many traumatised children, whose lives were brutally disrupted by violence and their sudden displacement.

Iraq: The Long Journey to Safety Play video

Iraq: The Long Journey to Safety

As the number of people crossing from conflict-affected areas in Iraq into safe zones in Northern Region of Kurdistan decreases, their stories don't get any easier.

Iraq: Unfolding Humanitarian Tragedy on Mount SinjarPlay video

Iraq: Unfolding Humanitarian Tragedy on Mount Sinjar

Tens of thousands of members of Iraq's Yazidi community have fled into the Sinjar mountains. One family tell of their harrowing flight into the mountains, including the death of their elderly mother.

Iraq: Thousands More Flee SinjarPlay video

Iraq: Thousands More Flee Sinjar

Officials in Iraq's Kurdistan region report that tens of thousands of people have crossed into the region since the weekend to escape fighting in and around the town of Sinjar. Thousands more are expected to arrive in the coming days.

Iraq: Flight to DohukPlay video

Iraq: Flight to Dohuk

A new wave of displacement has hit Iraq, following the seizure of three northern communities from government control.

Iraq: Uprooted and living in a warehousePlay video

Iraq: Uprooted and living in a warehouse

An Iraqi man who turned down resettlement to the U.S. in 2006 tells how it feels now to be a "refugee" in his own country, in limbo, hoping to restart life in another Iraqi city.

Iraq: High Commissioner visits Arbat campPlay video

Iraq: High Commissioner visits Arbat camp

Concluding a visit to Iraq, UNHCR chief António Guterres met with Syrian refugees in Arbat camp in the Kurdistan region. Guterres noted the recent proliferation of humanitarian crises, but urged the international community not to forget about Syria, "the mega protracted crisis of our times."

Iraq: High Commissioner visits displaced IraqisPlay video

Iraq: High Commissioner visits displaced Iraqis

This week UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres is visiting Iraq to meet with families displaced by conflict in recent weeks. After listening to accounts of their difficult journeys to safety, Guterres called for more support to help deal with the crisis. He will also visit some of the 300,000 Syrian refugees currently living in camps in northern Iraq.

Iraq: Displaced to Northern IraqPlay video

Iraq: Displaced to Northern Iraq

More than 300.000 people fled the fighting in the Iraqi city of Mosul last week and have reached Iraq's Kurdistan region seeking refuge. Many have no money, and nowhere to go.

Iraq: Mosul ExodusPlay video

Iraq: Mosul Exodus

A shortage of shelter is emerging as a key challenge as UNHCR and others race to help people fleeing the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and heading to checkpoints between Ninewa province and Iraq's Kurdistan region. Many are arriving with little more than the clothes on their back.

Iraq: Khaled Hosseini VisitPlay video

Iraq: Khaled Hosseini Visit

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Khaled Hosseini, a former refugee from Afghanistan, met Syrian refugees during a trip to northern Iraq. The best-selling novelist talked to many of the refugees, including an aspiring young writer.

Iraq: Innovation & Refugee ShelterPlay video

Iraq: Innovation & Refugee Shelter

The IKEA Foundation is funding the development of durable and easy-to-assemble shelters for refugees. Syrians in northern Iraq have been among the first to try them out.

Iraq: Separated Syrian FamiliesPlay video

Iraq: Separated Syrian Families

This the story of Suleiman, one of nearly 60,000 refugees who crossed the border into northern Iraq in August 2013. Flight meant many families were torn apart as they searched for safety.

Iraq: High-Level UN Visit to ErbilPlay video

Iraq: High-Level UN Visit to Erbil

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres and OCHA chief Valerie Amos, travel to northern Iraq to meet refugees from Syria, assess their situation and show solidarity as well as thanking host communities.

Iraq: Changed LivesPlay video

Iraq: Changed Lives

One of the routes from Syria into the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has recently been reopened. Thousands have since crossed into northern Iraq. The journey will change their lives.

Iraq: UNHCR Airlift Into SyriaPlay video

Iraq: UNHCR Airlift Into Syria

On the December 17 2013 the UN Refugee Agency airlifted relief items from Iraq into northeast Syria's Al Hassakeh governorate to help more than 50,000 extremely vulnerable and displaced Syrians cope with the sudden arrival of winter following an agreement with both the Iraqi and Syrian authorities to open new aid routes.

Blind Boy's Love of Music
Play video

Blind Boy's Love of Music

Twelve-year-old Dylan fled to northern Iraq with his family for safety. It was very difficult for the boy, who is blind. But his love of music has helped him survive and to forget the sounds of violence in his native Syria.

Iraq: Baby Hawler in Qushtapa Park 
Play video

Iraq: Baby Hawler in Qushtapa Park

The number of Syrian refugees passed the 2 million mark earlier this week. They included Hawler, a baby born just three days before she and her family fled to safety in northern Iraq. They now live in a park as they wait to be moved to a camp.

Iraq: UN Chiefs Visits Syrian Refugees  
Play video

Iraq: UN Chiefs Visits Syrian Refugees

High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, and Executive Director of the World Food Programme, Ertharin Cousin, see the latest influx of Syrian refugees in Northern Iraq.

Iraq: More Sahela Border Arrivals
Play video

Iraq: More Sahela Border Arrivals

More than 30,000 Syrians who fled across the Peshkhabour border into Kurdistan in northern Iraq walk towards a makeshift reception centre.

Iraq: Thousands of Syrians Cross the TigrisPlay video

Iraq: Thousands of Syrians Cross the Tigris

Thousands fleeing Syrian violence cross the Tigris into Kurdistan.

Iraq: Ali's Distant DreamPlay video

Iraq: Ali's Distant Dream

At the age of 16, Ali is leaving his childhood behind to become sole carer of his grandparents. They all fled to Iraq from Syria, leaving the rest of the family behind.
Iraq: A Home for a Syrian FamilyPlay video

Iraq: A Home for a Syrian Family

Kava and his family arrive at Domiz camp in northern Iraq, traumatized by the conflict in Syria. With the help of UNHCR and its partners, his family has found shelter and a glimmer of hope.
Angelina Jolie visits Baghdad   Play video

Angelina Jolie visits Baghdad

On her recent trip to the Middle East, UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie met internally displaced Iraqis and refugee returnees to Baghdad.
Romania: Saad's DilemmaPlay video

Romania: Saad's Dilemma

Saad, an Iraqi journalist covering politics, was targeted, kidnapped and held captive for three months. After escaping, he paid a smuggler to take him to Europe. We spoke with him in Romania, where he has begun building a new life.
Iraq: Harsh LivingPlay video

Iraq: Harsh Living

There are more than 350 settlements for internally displaced people in Iraq.The living conditions in most of them are dire.
Iraq: Brick by BrickPlay video

Iraq: Brick by Brick

In Iraq, where more than 2 million people remain displaced, UNHCR has launched a home renovation project to assist returns.
Angelina Jolie  in IraqPlay video

Angelina Jolie in Iraq

During a day-long visit to Baghdad, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie visited a makeshift settlement for internally displaced people in the Chikook suburb of north-west Baghdad where she met with four families displaced from the district of Abu Ghraib and from the western suburbs of the Iraqi capital.
Iraq: On the Edge of NowherePlay video

Iraq: On the Edge of Nowhere

Six years after the invasion to oust Saddam Hussein, Iraq is still insecure and about 1.8 million people live in limbo – without a job or a place to call home.
Life for Iraqi refugees increasingly desperatePlay video

Life for Iraqi refugees increasingly desperate

More than 4.5 million Iraqis have been uprooted by the crisis in their country. More than 2.5 million of them are displaced within Iraq, while over 2 million have found refuge abroad, including 1.4 million in Syria and some half-a-million in Jordan. Life is getting increasingly desperate for these refugees as they run out of resources and, in some cases, overstay their visas.
Surviving In IraqPlay video

Surviving In Iraq

It's estimated that more than 2 million people are displaced in Iraq. The UN refugee agency is trying to help the most vulnerable get their papers in order.
The Struggle To Go To SchoolPlay video

The Struggle To Go To School

It's one of the hardest choices Iraqi refugee families have to make - whether to send their children to school or to work. Even though Syria has opened its classrooms to Iraqi students, a growing number of refugee families simply cannot afford to send their children to school. UNHCR has launched projects to ensure that more Iraqi children access education, including remedial learning programs for those who have missed years of class. For the protection of those interviewed, names have been changed and faces masked.
Reaching Out To Iraqi RefugeesPlay video

Reaching Out To Iraqi Refugees

More than 1.5 million Iraqis are believed to have found refuge in neighbouring Syria. Many have exhausted their savings and are in an increasingly precarious position. UNHCR is trying to help them.
Testimonial: Iraqi SurvivorPlay video

Testimonial: Iraqi Survivor

Testimonial by an Iraqi survivor
Falujah Iraq: Life In LimboPlay video

Falujah Iraq: Life In Limbo

Despite a decrease in violence in Iraq, millions of people remain displaced. This is the story of 50 displaced families living in a former hospital in the central Iraqi city of Fallujah.
Iraq's Exodus Of PainPlay video

Iraq's Exodus Of Pain

The continued violence in Iraq is creating a humanitarian crisis of massive proportions. It is estimated that more than 2 million people have left the country and another 1.9 million are displaced inside Iraq. Each uprooted person has a personal and tragic story to tell. Help UNHCR celebrate World Refugee Day on June 20
Displaced In Northern IraqPlay video

Displaced In Northern Iraq

There are an estimated 4.2 million uprooted people in Iraq - more than in any other country in the world. The flow of people to neighbouring states and individual governorates is becoming too great a burden. The northern region of Iraq has become the destination of choice for those who have little money, but entry is restricted.