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Internal displacement in Iraq

Briefing notes

Internal displacement in Iraq

8 April 2008

The plight of some 2.77 million internally displaced Iraqis remains precarious. According to the latest internal displacement figures, more than 1.5 million of them were displaced since 2006 and the remainder prior to that.

According to the latest estimates, the number of IDPs in need of shelter and food is now tops a million. More than 1 million internally displaced people have no regular income, and some 300,000 have no access to clean water. Tens of thousands are in need of legal aid to enable them to access other basic services.

Given the dire needs, UNHCR was extremely pleased with an announcement last week by Government of Kuwait that it is contributing $1 million toward our work on behalf of internally displaced Iraqis. At the same time, the government announced it was also increasing its annual contribution to UNHCR's general budget to $1 million.

The Kuwaiti contribution to the Iraq operation will cover specific work in health and education - both areas of major concern among the internally displaced. Getting help to many of the internally displaced is still extremely difficult because of insecurity in much of the country. Most of UNHCR's work inside Iraq is overseen by local staff in coordination with Iraqi aid agencies. This year, we are focusing on getting assistance to 400,000 of the most vulnerable IDPs in Iraq. Programmes include protection and legal help through a network of Protection and Assistance Centres; counselling; provision of household and shelter items; support for camps for the internally displaced; and infrastructure rehabilitation projects to increase the capacity of local communities struggling to cope with internally displaced populations - including in the health and education sectors.

In January UNHCR appealed for $261 million for our work on behalf of Iraqi refugees outside their country and for the internally displaced. So far, we have received just under half of that amount. UNHCR thanks the Government of Kuwait for its recent, timely contribution. Iraq programme donors as of 4 April include the United States ($95.4 million); United Kingdom ($6.2 million); Germany ($3.9 million); Sweden ($2.3 million); European Commission ($1.3 million); Kuwait ($1 million); France ($740,000); Switzerland ($702,000); Italy ($292,000); private donors ($109,000).