UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, warmly welcomes the generous 2018 contributions from the Government of the United States of America, which reached a cumulative total of US$ 128.8 million for Syrian refugees and internally displaced Iraqis.
With the support of donors like the United States, UNHCR can continue to provide assistance to the millions of people who are still in need in Iraq.
While the country recovers from conflict, the needs of Iraqis diversify. Even as cities are rebuilt and communities begin to flourish, approximately two million people, many of them extremely vulnerable, are still displaced.
An essential component of the protection of displaced people is voluntary, safe, and sustainable return, which in turn is at the heart of the recovery and stabilization of Iraq. Sustainable return is an important step on the road to peace and stability.
Cities like Mosul and Ramadi were heavily damaged during the conflict. Restoring these cities is an immense task, and the work is far from over. In parts of West Mosul, Sinjar, the Ninewa Plains, and Anbar, rubble is not yet cleared of explosives and services like water and electricity are not fully functional. In such instances, conditions for sustainable return are not yet met. It is of the utmost importance that assistance for displaced Iraqis continues to avoid premature returns to these areas, which could result in further displacement.
At the same time, the communities hosting displaced people also face increased hardship, and resources are stretched. Without ongoing support, many among the displaced and hosting population would struggle to make ends meet. U.S. Ambassador Douglas Silliman commented: “The United States is deeply committed to providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to refugees in Iraq and Syria… [The U.S. Government] contribution will assist those who are not yet able to return home voluntarily, safely, and with dignity.”
“A year since the end of large-scale fighting in Iraq, our work is far from over,” said Bruno Geddo, UNHCR Representative in Iraq. “The wounds inflicted by years of conflict on people and communities will take a long time to heal. Major efforts are underway by the authorities, UN agencies and partners to support displaced Iraqis as they return. Rebuilding Iraq is not just about bricks and mortar, but the coming together of cohesive and inclusive communities, which will take time. With the extraordinary support of donors like the United States, UNHCR will continue to stand with the people of Iraq until the job is done.”