Current issues and what the World Food Programme is doing
The World Food Programme’s (WFP) Iraq response helps people affected by the conflict, by delivering emergency food assistance and organising logistics. More information can be found on the Iraq emergency page.
What are the current issues in Iraq
The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in Iraq amidst ongoing violence that has forced more than three million people to leave their homes. Most of them are living without access to food, water and other essentials. This is in addition to an estimated 250,000 Syrian refugees residing in the north. In total, around 4.4 million people require some sort of food assistance in Iraq.
Humanitarian access remains challenging; both for humanitarian actors to reach people in need as well as for people to safely access humanitarian assistance and services. More than 8.2 million people in Iraq are in need of some sort of humanitarian assistance as a result of the ongoing political and sectarian violence in the country.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Iraq
WFP has been operating in Iraq since 1991, and has provided food assistance in the country since April 2014 through emergency operations to assist those hundreds of thousands Iraqis forced from their homes by recent violence.
Emergency food assistance
In the face of further mass displacement from major Iraqi cities, such as Mosul and Ramadi, WFP scaled up activities to reach of an average of 1.5 million people per month in all 18 governorates, including hard-to-reach areas. WFP is assisting people through monthly family food parcels for those with access to cooking facilities, food vouchers that can be redeemed at local shops and ready-to-eat food known as Immediate Response Rations that provide a family of five with food for three days.
Assistance to Syrian refugees
Since July 2012, WFP has been providing food assistance to Syrian refugees who have fled to Iraq. WFP is assisting Syrian refugees through in-kind food distributions and a voucher programme in areas where security and market capacity permits.
School meals programme
During the school year, the Ministry of Education in collaboration with WFP provides a daily snack of fortified biscuits to primary school children in the most vulnerable Iraqi districts. Following a pilot school feeding project in April 2015 which provided daily meals to 20,000 primary school children in Thi-Qar governorate, WFP and the Government of Iraq are currently designing a school feeding programme to be implemented on a wider scale.
Supporting government safety nets
WFP is supporting the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to reform social safety nets for vulnerable groups, as well as supporting the Government-run Public Distribution System. This includes collaborating on capacity building programmes that aim to help Ministry staff in targeting poverty, designing and targeting social safety nets, monitoring and evaluation procedures and developing a management information system.
WFP is planning to target unemployment in some of the areas most vulnerable to violence and insecurity in Iraq through a cash-for-assets programme. Cash-for-assets provides families the means to rebuild their lives and facilitate resettlement while creating employment opportunities to improve access to food.