Reaching children in Iraq

Children are especially at risk in Iraq crisis

UNICEF Image: Closeup of a girl; other children behind her
© UNICEF/UN0136476/Anmar
UNICEF carries out a range of activities in Qayara Airstrip Emergency Site and the Jeddah camps about 70 km south of Mosul. The people in these camps have been displaced from across northern Iraq since military operations began to retake Mosul in October 2016.

Ongoing conflict in Iraq has left a total of 11 million people, including 5.1 million children, in need of humanitarian assistance.

Children make up almost half of the 3 million Iraqis displaced by the conflict. Many of Iraq’s camps are operating beyond capacity, and families live in overcrowded conditions. Children are in danger of separation from their families, abduction, recruitment into the fighting, and sexual violence. Living amidst armed conflict – including exposure to mines and improvised explosive devices – puts them at risk of death and injury, and threatens their long-term mental health and future development.

Meanwhile, damaged and overstretched water and sanitation infrastructure and weakened health systems put children’s health and survival in jeopardy. At least 70 per cent of displaced children have missed a whole year of school.

UNICEF has been working with partners to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of children and families – providing access to safe water and sanitation, education, protection, health and nutrition services. UNICEF also operates Child-Friendly Spaces, where children can find respite through play, learning and psychosocial support, to help them cope with the ordeals they’ve been through.

UNICEF's response with partners in 2017:

  • 1,808,911 emergency affected populations with access to a sufficient safe water supply 
  • 44,437 school-aged children reached through temporary learning spaces
  • 357,391 children participating in structured, sustained, resilience or psychosocial support programmes
  • 2,447,239 newly-displaced people receiving rapid response kits within 72 hours of trigger for response
  • 282,836 children under 5 accessing nutrition services (screening, referral and treatment services)


>> Read more about Iraq’s humanitarian needs and UNICEF's work


Watch: Videos from UNICEF Iraq


A window on the world


UNICEF staff speak


>> See more videos from UNICEF Iraq


Meet: Children and families affected by the crisis




"I like dancing."


Clowning around


Children with talent


>> Read more stories and perspectives from Iraq


Read: The latest press releases and statements


1.5 million vulnerable children in the Middle East threatened as winter approaches
AMMAN, 26 October 2017 – The coming winter is the latest threat to children affected by crises in the Middle East. As UNICEF races to provide warm clothing, winter supplies and blankets before the cold sets in, the organisation is facing a $60 million gap that could leave up to 1.5 million children exposed to the cold.

Abused, exploited and abandoned - Children caught up in violence in Mosul and conflicts in the region need immediate care and protection
AMMAN, 22 July 2017 – “The worst of the violence in Mosul may be over but for too many children in Mosul and in the region, extreme suffering continues.

Mosul’s children, sick, alone, wounded and scarred, are in urgent need of assistance and protection
BAGHDAD, 13 July 2017 – “Although the battle for Mosul is coming to an end, children’s deep physical and mental scars will take time to heal. Some 650,000 boys and girls, who have lived through the nightmare of violence in Mosul, have paid a terrible price and endured many horrors over the past three years.

UNICEF calls for the protection of children trapped in west Mosul’s violence
BAGHDAD, 29 June 2017 – “Thousands of children continue to be trapped in relentless violence in West Mosul’s Old City neighborhoods as the fighting heavily intensified over the past hours.

>> See the latest from the UNICEF press centre

For more about UNICEF's work, choose any of the following:

UNICEF Iraq on Medium
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UNICEF Connect blog



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