Multi-Cluster Needs Assessment informs ongoing response to internal displacement crisis in Iraq

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The current internal displacement crisis in Iraq originated in late 2013 when conflict broke out between Armed Groups and the Iraq Security Forces in Anbar governorate. Ever since, the spread of insecurity into northern and central parts of Iraq has caused large scale displacement with 3,171,606 internally displaced persons (IDPs) currently identified across the country. As the conflict shows little sign of abating any time soon, most IDPs are unable to safely return home and are facing either protracted displacement in their current location or multiple displacement to safer areas. Many IDPs are in dire need of assistance and few have the capacity to deal with longer-term displacement.

In this context, REACH recently conducted a Multi-Cluster Needs Assessment (MCNA) in an effort to provide an updated multi-sectoral understanding of the situation facing the internally displaced population living outside camps in accessible parts of Iraq. This assessment is the second of its kind conducted by REACH and follows up from a similar MCNA conducted in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) in October 2014 which presented the first baseline dataset on broad multi-cluster priority needs of IDPs living outside camps in the KRI. Building on this, the latest MCNA has expanded its scope to cover 14 governorates across both the KRI and other accessible areas in the rest of Iraq. The indicators and questionnaire for this assessment were developed in collaboration with cluster leads and humanitarian agencies, and primary data was collected between 14 May and 21 June.

The assessment found that for the immediate term, food, water, and shelter remain the priority needs for IDPs living outside camps in Iraq. From a mid- to long-term perspective, livelihood-based assistance was found to be a priority need for IDPs. Additionally, clear variations were found between the conditions and levels of assistance received in the northern governorates compared to central and southern governorates. For instance, IDPs in the KRI continue to struggle to access employment and are thus sinking into debt, foregoing other critical needs such as medical care and education in order to make ends meet. In contrast, IDPs in the center and south have more restricted access to basic services overall, more frequently change location, and are often more exposed to immediate at-risk environments.

Overall, the latest MCNA has not only provided a quantitative evidence base for decision makers with the purpose of planning, sector prioritization and target group identification but given the timing of its release, it has also captured priority needs ahead of the upcoming winter season. As such, findings from this assessment have informed the September 2015 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) in Iraq and the upcoming Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2016.

Read the complete ‘Multi-Cluster Needs Assessment of Internally Displaced Persons outside Camps’ assessment report here.

Image: © REACH, 2015