• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 38,434,000 Total population [?]
  • 4,281,000 People in Need [?]
  • 1,665,000 IDPs [?]
  • 4,267,000 IDP Returnees [?]
  • 253,000 Syrian Refugees [?]



People are returning home after several years of conflict and displacement, but the Iraqi government still faces significant challenges to ensure safety and stability, functioning infrastructure, and access to basic services and job opportunities. ?Relations with the autonomous Kurdish Region of Iraq (KR-I), which voted for independence in September 2017, remain fragile.?

Some 10,000-15,000 Islamic State (IS) militants are believed to remain in Hamrin Mountains, Kirkuk governorate, Mosul, the southern part of Ninewa governorate, and the desert areas of Anbar governorate. ?

Almost 65% of all people in need are concentrated in Anbar, Ninewa, and Salah al-Din governorates. ?Large scale displacement persists despite the expulsion of IS from Iraqi territory. In December 2017. Return movements slowed in 2018 as returnees often face damaged housing, insecurity, and lack basic services and livelihood opportunities. ?Efforts to reduce areas extensively contaminated with explosive remnants of war are ongoing, however, progress is very slow. ?Additionally, Iraq hosts almost 300,000 refugees and asylum seekers, including 250,000 Syrian refugees, of whom 99% live in KR-I. 69% of all Syrian refugees in Iraq are women and children. ?

The humanitarian crisis is compounded by reoccurring, countrywide natural disasters, such as floods and droughts. INFORM measures Iraq’s risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster to be very high, at 7.2/10. Hazard and exposure, as well as lack of coping capacity, are of particular concern, at 8.6/10 and 7/10 rates. ?

Latest Developments


Following an escalation of conflict between the US and Iran which led to attacks on Iraqi soil in December and January, the security situation in the country remains volatile. Reports of hindered humanitarian access including the closure of INGOs’ offices and the impossibility of mobilising humanitarian personnel have emerged.?


For more information on the humanitarian impact of ongoing protests, please see the relevant paragraph below.

Humanitarian Access


High constraints

Movement within federal Iraq and, to a much smaller extent, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) remains constrained. Access challenges include the presence of different military authorities and bureaucratic impediments such as conditional authorisation of access letters. Multiple access constraints are reported in Ninewa and Kirkuk governorates. Movement is further impeded by insecurity related to Islamic State (IS) activities and explosives contamination. Destroyed infrastructure and poor roads mark significant physical constraints. IDPs accused of having IS ties continue to face challenges in accessing assistance. In October 2019 protests in Baghdad and several southern cities led to a curfew and disruption of services, hindering humanitarian operations.

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.



2nd wave: 25/10/2019 – ongoing

Protests extended to the governorates of Baghdad, Diwaniya, Basra, Karbala, Thi-Qar, Babel, Najaf, Maysan, Wasit and Muthanna. Protection concerns are increasing:  UN sources mention over 400 fatalities since the start of October and estimate over 19,000 injuries.? The presence of underage high school students among protesters has been documented.?

Curfews have been imposed in Thi-Qar, Basra, Wasit, Baghdad, Diwaniya, and Muthanna.? 98 buildings have been burned or damaged, in addition to the looting and theft of properties.? Umm Qasr port in Basra, which receives substantial food imports, functioned only to 20% of its capacity when demonstrators blocked access on 29 October. The port continues to be a stage of protests.?

School and university classes have been disrupted due to strikes, some governmental and private offices shut down, and several roads in Baghdad and other cities have been blocked.? Intermittent internet access and blockage of social media hinder communications between citizens,?but also humanitarian actors.?

Ambulances have difficulties in reaching the injured, who have been transported on informal vehicles.? The number of hospital patients has increased because some clinics and pharmacies closed, beds and treatment are lacking.? One volunteer doctor was kidnapped in Baghdad and then released early in November and one medic was reportedly killed while offering treatment.? ICRC has confirmed that medical facilities, personnel and ambulances have been repeatedly targeted. ?

1st wave: 01/10/2019 – 08/10/2019

Protests started in Baghdad and southern cities, such as Basra, Amara, Nasiriya, Diwaniya, Samawa, Babel and Najaf. Mostly young men demonstrated against corruption, unemployment, and lacking public services. A report later issued by the government documented 157 casualties and 5,494 injuries. Humanitarian access was disrupted, with ambulances reportedly unable to access the location of protests due to live fire. Allegedly, a medic was arrested while treating demonstrators and teargas was fired at one convoy of ambulances. Internet was cut off repeatedly and a nightly 14-hour internet curfew was imposed. Curfews in multiple cities and the disruption of internet services hindered humanitarian operations, including in areas not affected by the protests.?

Key Priorities


Health services are severely underequipped and understaffed and 5.54 million people are in need of health assistance. Psychosocial support is needed, especially among IDPs. ?

Protection is a major concern with 4.52 million people in need of protection assistance. Protection needs are particularly high in Anbar, Diyala, Ninewa, and Salah al-Din governorate. Explosive remnants of war are a particular safety risk.? Iraqis with a perceived affiliation with extremist groups are often denied civil documentation, are hindered to return or arrested and detained. ?

Education: Children affected by conflict have limited access to education. In total, 2.56 million people are in need of education, 60% of whom are returnees. The quality of teaching is undermined as qualified teachers are lacking and more than 50% of the existing schools are in need of rehabilitation and reconstruction. ?

Information Gaps and Needs

  • The tracking of IDPs that became refugees and the numbers of refugee returnees is lacking. Their needs and their whereabouts remain mostly unknown. 
  • Different delineations of administrative borders between central and regional governments (especially the KR-I) impacts on the accuracy of displacement tracking.
  • The number of IS fighters currently in Iraq is unknown and more recent estimates are lacking.