International Rescue Committee (IRC)

IRC to Restart Humanitarian Aid in Iraq

The International Rescue Committee is preparing to launch aid programs for displaced families in northern, central and southern Iraq.

IRC emergency staff are in the country assessing the needs of Iraqis forced to flee their homes.

"There is little humanitarian aid reaching Iraqis who have fled the ongoing violence," says Alan Manski, who is leading the IRC mission in Iraq. "These families are in dire straits and are struggling to get by on dwindling resources."

With support from the Iraqi Ministry of Education, three schools in Erbil have opened their doors to displaced children. It's a generous gesture that enables vulnerable young Iraqis to continue their education, says Manski, but has also led to as much as a quadrupling of the student population.

“The kids are now going in shifts and still the classrooms are overflowing,” Manski said.

For starters, the IRC is planning to work with locals to construct six new classrooms at the most crowded school and begin activities for youth in the area.  Additional education programs are under consideration in the region.

In the Najaf area in southern Iraq the IRC is preparing to sponsor the distribution of blankets and mattresses to some 6,000 displaced Iraqis living in makeshift shelter. Manski says the items are desperately needed as winter fast approaches.

Meanwhile, the IRC will soon get started on the development of two community centers north of Baghdad, one in a Shia neighborhood and one in a Sunni area. The centers will provide a range of programs, including assistance for traumatized children and counseling and job training for women.

The IRC last worked in Iraq from 2003 through 2005.

Learn More

The IRC is also working with partner organizations to get needed assistance to thousands of Iraqi refugees seeking safety and protection in Jordan.