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1.2 million

Nearly 1.2 million Iraqis continue to be internally displaced, and the country hosts over 250,000 refugees from other countries.

4.1 million

4.1 million Iraqis are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection while some 2.4 million people are in acute need of assistance.

5 million 

While nearly 5 million former IDPs have returned, these returnees live in substandard living conditions and require assistance and support to meet basic needs.



 About the Crisis in Iraq

After decades of conflict and widespread violence in Iraq, nearly 1.2 million Iraqis continue to be internally displaced. 90 percent of the displaced population have not been able to return home for over 3 years, and 70 percent have been displaced for more than 5 years. While IDP returnees consistently outnumber those who are internally displaced, many struggle to reintegrate and still require humanitarian assistance.

Although armed violence has declined in some parts of the country, armed groups and small scale military operations continue to carry out unpredictable attacks throughout the country, resulting in new displacements. In addition to these attacks, COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted displaced populations, resulting in reduced incomes, increased gender-based violence, and disruptions to education.

It is estimated that 4.1 million Iraqis are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection while some 2.4 million people are in acute need of assistance. Of the nearly 250,000 displaced Syrian refugees living in Iraq, approximately one in five rely on UNHCR for healthcare services and essential needs. 

Millions of families living in protracted displacement situations are reaching breaking point. They have exhausted their financial resources over the years and continue to face constrained access to basic services and critical protection risks. They are in desperate need of life-saving aid.


Omar, the big man in Mosul

What is UNHCR doing to help in Iraq?

The UN Refugee Agency is on the ground in Iraq and surrounding regions, working to protect and provide emergency relief efforts to refugees and internally-displaced people (IDPs). Together with partners and government authorities, UNHCR undertakes the following activities:

  • Protection of Refugees, IDPs and Returnees: includes activities related to registration, legal and psychosocial support, prevention and response to SGBV and sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), child protection, reunification of separated families and monitoring of safe, voluntary and dignified returns.
  • Shelter and Basic Needs: UNHCR assists vulnerable families with their most basic needs, including shelter, cash assistance and core relief items (tents, mattresses, plastic sheeting, kitchen sets, buckets and other essentials).
  • Camp Coordination and Management: in camps, UNHCR works to ensure adequate shelter, delivery of food and water, presence of education and health facilities and capacity building for stakeholders.
  • COVID-19 Pandemic Response: UNHCR is delivering masks and PPE equipment to hospitals, conducting health-awareness sessions and vaccinations, and providing cash assistance to refugees, IDPs, and IDP returnees.

Learn more about What We Do.

Stories from the Iraq Refugee Crisis

Iraq Refugee Crisis Explained

UNHCR gives hope to displaced children in Iraq

See all stories about the Iraq refugee crisis >

Refugee Camps and Settlements in Iraq

Hamid Abdelraza and his family stand outside their Refugee Housing Unit (RHU) in Al Jamea'a camp.

  • 1.5 million displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees have moved into the Kurdistan region of Iraq, where 25 percent of the population is displaced.
  • More than 180,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) are living in formal camp locations and over 100,000 are in informal settlements.
  • In February of 2019, eight camps were closed which resulted in secondary displacement and premature returns. 
  • In 2018, there were 256,725 pending asylum claims from Iraq.
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