THE BLOG

After a Year of Brutal Conflict, Iraq Is on the Brink of Humanitarian Disaster

04/06/2015 11:01 BST | Updated 03/06/2016 10:59 BST

The humanitarian crisis in Iraq is one of the most volatile and complex in the world and children are bearing the brunt of the conflict and facing danger every day.

The number of people affected by the ongoing crisis is currently 8.2million and four million of those are children. It's a number which is almost too large to comprehend and the situation is getting worse.

The UN is predicting that by the end of this year almost 10million people in Iraq will be in urgent need of help. Just as humanitarian assistance is needed most, resources are running out. Without an immediate injection of new funds, lifesaving work will be cut back or closed down in the coming months.

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Nine-year-old Rahma stands outside a tent in Baherka Camp for internally displaced persons. Unicef-supported community mobilizers are going tent to tent counselling families on hygiene practices and encouraging parents to bring their children to the camp health centre to be vaccinated. Rahma wants to be a doctor.

We are joining other UN agencies and humanitarian organisations to launch an urgent appeal for £326million to provide basic life-saving support for those most in need in Iraq over the next six months. £31million is needed by Unicef to bring life-saving assistance to 1.2million children.

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Hadija, sits outside her tent with her three grandchildren Bakr, 3, Malak, 6, and Cidra, 8. They came to Baherka Camp from Mosul where the children's parents are still trapped.

Already, the size of food rations to displaced families has been reduced and frontline health clinics have closed down - now water programs and protection activities could be scaled back or halted.

For children, the impact of funds running out would be devastating and if organisations like Unicef do not have the funds to step in, Iraq risks losing a whole generation to this crisis.

Already, 1.3million children have been torn from their homes and more than three million do not have access to quality education. Children face danger on a daily basis and have witnessed unspeakable cruelties. Girls have fallen victim to enslavement and sexual violence. Children have been used as suicide bombers and as human shields. Most are living without physical protection, psychosocial support, and basic services.

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15 year old Ali lives with his family in Harsham Camp for the displaced in Erbil. He and each of his seven brothers and sisters visit the Unicef-supported Child Friendly Space every day where they have a safe venue to learn, socialize, and play

Overcrowding in transit camps, insufficient water and sanitation facilities, psychosocial distress, widespread sexual and other forms of violence, poor nutrition, inadequate health care, and an education sector stretched to breaking point are all having a hugely negative impact on the long-term development of Iraq's children.

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Sarab, aged 14 cooks, cleans and takes care for her five surviving younger siblings, aged 2 - 12 years, as well as their elderly grandmother

Over the next six months, Unicef estimates that 1.2million Iraqi children will be in desperate need of life-saving assistance. By donating today you can help us to provide safe water and sanitation supplies, nutritious food, life-saving vaccinations and help keep children safe in emergencies like these.

Learn more at www.save-iraq.info