Since the ousting of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Iraqi population of around 33 million has only been subject to short periods of relative peace as competing interests struggle for control. Since 2014 ISIS have seized control of large areas of the country, including several major cities. Millions of Iraqis have fled their homes, and there is an urgent need for humanitarian assistance.
Oxfam in Iraq
Oxfam in Iraq aims to build resilience in conflict-affected areas of the country by rehabilitating existing basic services and providing longer term interventions in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and emergency food security and vulnerable livelihoods (EFSVL), in coordination with local authorities and partners.
By leveraging our advocacy expertise we hope to influence approaches to humanitarian assistance in order to ensure and protect the rights of all individuals affected by the current conflict.
With our partners, Oxfam’s work has delivered WASH, EFSVL, protection, gender justice, and advocacy programs reaching over 400,000 conflict-affected Iraqis.
We are working in Diyala, Kirkuk, and Salahaddin governorates, which include contested territories on both sides of the Disputed Internal Boundaries (DIBs) in towns and villages in both rural and urban communities.
- Providing immediate life-saving assistance to displaced people through the provision of drinking water and immediate food rations as they flee conflict affected areas, as well as cash or e-vouchers to meet critical household needs.
- Rehabilitating water infrastructure, providing sanitation facilities and supporting hygiene promotion activities.
- Providing livelihood opportunities for displaced and returnee families, allowing them to access income while displaced or recently returned. Protection activities including service mapping, information provision and cash for protection, and regular community dialog sessions are also mainstreamed throughout with a gender-sensitive lens and focus.
- As the frontline recedes, Oxfam plans to expand its operations to include new areas in Central Iraq. This includes recently establishing the Oxfam Baghdad office which will coordinate nationwide advocacy and enable partner-led responses to crises as they arise in Baghdad and the surrounding area.
The Mosul response
Since 9th July 2017, the city of Mosul has been retaken from ISIS by the Iraqi Security Forces. Mosul (the second most populated city in Iraq) and its surrounding areas had been under the control of ISIS since June 2014.
Mosul residents are starting to return home, of the 900,000 people that have fled over 200,000 people have already gone back to rebuild their lives. These families continue to face severe risks from revenge attacks and explosives, and a lack of clean water, healthcare, and other basic services. Men, women and children returning to Mosul must be supported with adequate information, guarantees of security, aid from humanitarian agencies, and access to social services.
Since the campaign to retake Mosul began, Oxfam has assisted more than 300,000 people affected by the conflict. Oxfam provides life-saving food, water, and protection in camps and neighbourhoods throughout Mosul district. Its work to rehabilitate the Gazlani water plant has established the first native source of clean water in western Mosul city.