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Protection Civile et Operations d'Aide Humanitaire Européennes

Improving living conditions for Iraq’s displaced

More than 4 years after the war against Islamic State ended, half a million displaced Iraqis still live in informal settlements.

Living conditions in these sites are generally worse than in camps, most of which have now closed. The remaining displaced are unable or unwilling to return home and face immense challenges in meeting their basic needs.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, political and social tensions in Iraq continued destabilising the country, limiting people’s access to support services.

The EU is funding humanitarian partners to improve the living circumstances of these families, who have often been displaced multiple times. We also advocate for more sustainable solutions so that they can have safe and dignified futures.

Story by Chloé Deblangey, Reporting and Communication Officer for Solidarités International.

view on a settlement
In most informal settlements, access to water, sanitation and hygiene remains limited. The longer the displaced communities stay in the sites, the more pressure is put on nearby natural resources as well as host communities.
© Mohammed Ali / Solidarités International. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Woman tapping water from a tank
Especially in the hot summer months, families need more water and water storage. Inadequate water quality impacts their lives, especially those susceptible to disease such as children and older people.
© Mohammed Ali / Solidarités International. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Woman in front of the water tanks
Saliha Ibrahim, who returned to Mosul in 2017, says: “We used to drink unclean water, but thanks to the water tanks we can store clean water and use it as needed.” The EU and its partners gave 14,000 people access to safe water for domestic use.
© Mohammed Ali / Solidarités International. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Boy standing in front of a bathing house
In some informal sites, there is just one latrine for 40 people, flouting international minimum standards. The same is true for showers and safe bathing spaces.
© Omar Adil / Solidarités International. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
man walking with crutches
There is no solid waste management in most informal settlements in Salah al Din, Kirkuk, Anbar and Baghdad. To mitigate the environmental risks and health impacts, the EU funds the distribution of waste bins and garbage bags.
© Mohammed Ali / Solidarités International. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Man and child in front of a latrine
Saad Hadi and his family have been displaced for 8 years. They live in Amiriyat Al-Fallujah. Thanks to EU funding, they now have access to new latrines with privacy and handwashing facilities.
© Omar Adil / Solidarités International. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
boy unpacking a hygiene kit
It is difficult to practise good hygiene when there is insufficient access to water and sanitation. In the past year, EU partners distributed hygiene kits to 30,000 people, including items such as soap, toothbrushes and sanitary pads.
© Omar Adil / Solidarités International. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Teacher in front of a class
Since hygiene practices are first learnt in childhood, our partners gave children a hygiene and sanitation training in several schools. They used exercises and games to emphasise the links between personal hygiene and health.
© Omar Adil / Solidarités International. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
family in front of shelter tent
Inaam Ali (35) is a mother of 4, displaced since 2014. Her family received hygiene and menstrual hygiene kits. She was grateful for the kits as they make life easier and healthier.
© Omar Adil / Solidarités International. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
girls standing underneath a make shift corridor
Up to 70% of the displaced live in unfinished buildings, mud houses or assembled housing, often with unsafe roofs, doors and windows. A lack of insulation exposes the families to extreme weather in winter and summer.
© Omar Adil / Solidarités International. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Aid workers and resident checking onto a shelter
With our partners’ support, we rehabilitated 613 shelters in Mosul, Balad, Fallujah and Kirkuk, helping 3,479 people. We also helped distribute blankets, mattresses and kerosene heaters during the cold months.
© Mohammed Ali / Solidarités International. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Salem Ahmed in front of a washing facility with water tank in the back
Salem Ahmed and his family live in Zummar military camp. Water was leaking inside the house. “There is a big change in the house after the EU fixed it,” says Salem. “We feel comfortable now and are no longer afraid of storms and the cold.”
© Mohammed Ali / Solidarités International. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.


Publication date: 03/05/2022