History of Country
Climate of insecurity
Iraq has gone through a series of crises over the past 27 years and there is still no end in sight. The Iran-Iraq war and the 1991 Gulf War were followed by 13 years of acute poverty under UN sanctions.
The devastating effects of the 2003 war continue. An estimated 100 people die each day in Iraq according to the UN, with thousands more forced from their homes. The unrelenting violence, power cuts, water shortages and rising fuel prices, make daily life a challenge for ordinary Iraqis.
Approximately 1.6 million people are displaced within Iraq. Another 2 million are living as refugees abroad, mainly in Syria and Jordan. Although many of these people fled their homes in the 1980s, numbers have soared in the aftermath of the 2003 war.
Displaced families struggle to find safety from the chronic insecurity on the streets. Many are forced to live in abandoned public buildings or to build their own makeshift shelters. Temporary shelters often lack access to water, proper sanitation facilities or electricity.
Water and sanitation systems, already damaged by war and neglect, have deteriorated further. Contaminated water spreads diseases such as typhoid, cholera and dysentery. The resulting diarrhoea can be fatal, especially for children.
Hospitals are struggling to cope with the demand for basic health services and desperately need rehabilitating. Most hospitals and medical supply warehouses have been looted. Even when medicine is available, it is still extremely difficult to distribute.
Islamic Relief's History
Thousands of Iraqis have had their lives torn apart by war
IR’s work in Iraq spans over ten years. IR was on the ground throughout the military incursions and is one of the few aid agencies that continued working during and after the 2003 war. A field office was opened in January 2003 in the capital, Baghdad.
IR plans to establish a tuberculosis treatment centre and continue rehabilitating schools, health centres and water and sanitation plants. IR is also digging wells to provide sustainable water supplies.
IR supports thousands of displaced people, including Syrian and Palestinian refugees living in Baghdad and Ramadi, with distributions of food and other aid.
The Orphans Sponsorship programme has been running since 2004, providing children with health, educational and psychological support. Seasonal Ramadan and Qurbani food distributions have also helped thousands of families over the years.
Initial aid to Iraq included distributions of food in 1996 and leukaemia medicines for 15 hospitals in 1997. Emergency relief projects included food, clothes and health-kit distributions, rehabilitation of schools and health centres, and the Baghdad and Falluja clean-up programmes.