The International Organization for Migration (IOM) -Iraq has appealed to the international community for USD20,450,000 to contribute to halting further transmission of COVID-19 and mitigating the impact of the outbreak in Iraq.
This includes measures directed at an estimated 1.4 million internally displaced persons (some 300,000 of whom are living in camps and who are reliant on humanitarian assistance) and 4.6 million people who have returned to their areas of origin.
“Years of conflict and sanctions have taken a toll on the Iraqi health care system. The COVID-19 pandemic may overwhelm this already weakened infrastructure,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite.
With 1,602 confirmed cases of and 83 deaths reported, the COVID-19 crisis is not only impacting vulnerable populations in Iraq, but is expected to have a severe effect on socioeconomic wellbeing across the country, unless immediate response and mitigation strategies are taken.
Waite also said that there are thousands of migrants in Iraq, many undocumented, who now are unable to work and who require protection and support.
“There are large IDP, refugee, returnee and migrant communities in Iraq already facing challenges accessing health care and relevant information,” Waited said. “Many are still recovering from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) crisis and subsequent economic downturn.”
IOM will build upon its strong operational footprint and existing expertise in migration health, integrated border management, community-based transition, and recovery and stabilization initiatives – including economic revitalization activities – to support the Government of Iraq’s response to COVID-19 through short, medium and long-term interventions where possible.
The group’s areas of focus will include Coordination and Partnerships; Tracking Mobility Impacts; Risk Communication and Community Engagement; Disease Surveillance Systems; Public Health Capacities at Points of Entry; Infection Prevention and Control; Case Management and Continuity of Essential Services, Camp Coordination and Camp Management; and Protection.
The organization’s Communicating with Communities, protection and disability inclusion teams will provide essential support and guidance across all interventions.
IOM Iraq will leverage its wide network of staff and offices across Iraq, who are experienced working in difficult operating environments, as well as IOM’s strong ties with government counterparts at national, governorate and local levels, to employ a multi-sectoral, whole-of-government-and society approach.
In coordination and partnership with relevant local actors and authorities, IOM Iraq will carry out its response in line with the WHO Iraq Country Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan Against COVID-19, released on 23 March 2020.
IOM’s Global Crisis Response Platform provides an overview of IOM’s plans and funding requirements to respond to the evolving needs and aspirations of those impacted by or at risk of crisis and displacement in 2020 and beyond. The Platform is regularly updated as crises evolve and new situations emerge. (Source: IOM)