Kurdistan Regional Government
Representation in the United States
Washington D.C.
Welcome to our June 2020 Humanitarian Bulletin
In a collaborative project with the Barzani Charity Foundation, the LDS Charities provides food parcels for more than 7,500 IDP and refugee families in June 2020. 
In recent days, the Kurdistan Region has seen an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases. More than 2,821 cases have been reported across Erbil, Slemani, Duhok, and Halabja governorates, an increase of 2,076 cases since June 1. Consequently, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has issued new measures to contain the pandemic. 

The KRG's health guidelines will remain in place, including quarantine, treatment, delivering health services to the infected, and contact-tracing. Further, it will intensify the awareness campaign about the disease and on public health instructions to ensure compliance. Moreover, wearing masks is now mandatory in public places and government offices. 

The KRG has also allocated an additional 5 billion Iraqi dinars to the Ministry of Health to meet the growing needs of the directorates of health in the four KRI governorates. It will assist factories producing PPE and masks in ensuring quality and affordable production. The travel bans in the Kurdistan Region and between other parts of Iraq will also continue.

The pandemic, along with the sharp decline in oil prices, and Baghdad's budget cuts have devastated the economy, causing hardship to both the host and displaced communities. On June 11, the Barzani Charity Foundation reported that 429 Syrian refugees living in the Bardarash refugee camp are returning to their places of origin in northeastern Syria (Rojava), mainly because of the coronavirus pandemic and unemployment. Bardarash camp is home to more than 6,500 Syrian refugees, predominately Kurds.

The economic situation has constrained the KRG's ability to meet the needs of more than 1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees. The KRG has been funding about 70% of the 1 billion USD in annual cost to provide essential services to the displaced people. The KRG calls on the United States and the international community to help during this crisis, which is likely to continue to impact Kurdistan and Iraq for the foreseeable future.

COVID-19 in Kurdistan:
Total cases tested: 108,001
Total Positive cases: 2,821
Total Recovered: 1,127
Total deaths: 75
Total active cases: 1,619
Source: KRG Coronavirus Dashboard

More than 1,008,878 refugees and IDPs are registered in the Kurdistan Region. 

429 Syrian refugees residing in Bardarash refugee camp have begun returning to their place of origin.

Security is the top concern for 70% of IDPs in camps and 80% of IDPs outside of camps. 

More than 30% of IDPs cited services and reconstruction as major concerns.

More than half of the displaced people are women and children.

The ratio of COVID-19 cases across the four KRI governorates.
The KRG is experiencing a rapid spike in the number of COVID-19 cases.
The geographical distribution of IDPs and refugees in KRI
The number of refugees per country of origin
Source: KRG Coronavirus Dashboard & Joint Crisis Coordination Center
The results of a study by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) about the needs, perceptions, and attitudes of conflict-affected communities, which included IDPs living in Erbil, Duhok, and Nineveh governorates, indicate that security, livelihood, and basic needs as the top priorities. When asked what should be done for the Yazidis and other minorities, 70% of IDPs in camps and 80% of IDPs outside of camps mentioned security, while more than 30% of IDPs also stressed services and reconstruction as major concerns. 

They also expressed a strong desire for accountability and truth, while denial of justice was also among the survivors' prevailing sentiment. Moreover, although over 93% believed there was a need for reconciliation in Iraq, most were not optimistic about peace prospects. 

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) also released a study to understand the relationship and dynamics in the post-ISIS period in the conflict-affected communities in Hamdaniya, Sinjar, Tal Afar, and Tal Keif. Similarly, most participants recognize "the need for reconciliation, but Christians and Yazidis have significant doubts that it is possible."

The Kurdistan Regional Government is grateful and expresses its sincere gratitude to all of the countries, UN agencies, and international and local NGOs for their financial support and dedication to alleviating the suffering of the vulnerable people in the Kurdistan Region and the rest of Iraq. Nevertheless, the refugees and IDPs are more vulnerable to the coronavirus and other diseases because of their living conditions and inadequate sanitation and healthcare services. 

To learn more about the humanitarian situation or how you can help support vulnerable communities in Kurdistan, please contact the Director of Public and Humanitarian Affairs at the US Representation.

Delovan Barwari
Director of Public and Humanitarian Affairs
Email:   [email protected]
Twitter:  @DelovanBarwari