Activities in Iraq: January and February 2012

17-04-2012 Facts and Figures

Facts and figures. An overview of ICRC activities carried out in Iraq.

Many people in Iraq are still struggling to earn a living and support their families. In January and February, the ICRC:

  • enabled upgrades to 71 kilometres of irrigation canals and 257 hectares of agricultural land by organizing cash-for-work schemes that benefited 1,800 displaced people and residents of Ninewa, Dokuk and Diyala governorates;
  • awarded 98 grants to disabled people and women heading households in Kirkuk, Diyala, Ninewa, Sulaimaniya, Basra and Missan, enabling them to start small businesses and regain economic self-sufficiency;
  • distributed essential hygiene and household items to 8,000 displaced people in Diyala, Baghdad, Salah Al-Din and Babil;
  • distributed aid to 407 women heading households in Baghdad and Anbar governorates, and helped them register with the State welfare allowance system;
  • distributed 67 greenhouses to needy farmers in Babil governorate.

Visiting detainees

In January and February, ICRC delegates visited detainees held by the Iraqi authorities and various branches of the Kurdish regional government in 41 places of detention in 12 governorates. They monitored the conditions in which detainees were being held and the treatment they were receiving, and shared their observations and recommendations with the detaining authorities in confidence. During this period, the ICRC provided over 500 detainees with such items as books, hygiene articles and clothing.

The ICRC helps restore and maintain ties between people held in detention facilities and their families. In January and February, nearly 300 Red Cross messages were exchanged between them, in Iraq and abroad. The ICRC responded to some 2,000 enquiries from families seeking information on detained or missing relatives.

Assisting health-care facilities

Health-care services in some rural and conflict-prone areas struggle to meet the needs of the population. The ICRC provides on-site support for selected primary health-care centres, helping renovate premises and train staff.

In January and February, the ICRC:

  • treated over 5,000 patients and manufactured nearly 3,000 devices at 12 ICRC-supported centres throughout Iraq;
  • held a war-surgery seminar in Najaf, and an emergency-room trauma course in Basra, attended by almost 80 Iraqi doctors;
  • provided on-site support for eight primary health-care centres in areas including Ninawa, Kirkuk Diyala, Babil and Diwaniya, serving approximately 260,000 people.

For the past 12 years, the ICRC has also been providing patients at Al-Rashad psychiatric hospital in Baghdad with occupational therapy support and supplies.

Providing clean water and sanitation

Access to clean water remains a challenge in much of Iraq. ICRC engineers repair and upgrade water, electrical and sanitary facilities, especially in places where violence continues and in rural areas.

In January and February, the ICRC regularly delivered water by truck to nearly 8,500 displaced people and residents in Al-Sadr City, Baghdad governorate.

With the support of the authorities concerned, it also:

  • repaired the water pumping station in Sader Al-Mahawil, Babil governorate, which serves about 120,000 people;
  • provided and installed a new compact water-purification unit in Jbela, Babil governorate, serving about 15,100 people;
  • improved the treatment process and the pumping capacity of Al-Hurr compact unit complex, Karbala governorate, serving 27,000 people;
  • renovated Madain third primary health-care centre in Baghdad governorate, serving 250 patients a day;
  • provided training for 88 water operators and technical personnel who work at water-treatment plants in Missan governorate.

Clearing unexploded munitions

Iraq is littered with more than 25 million mines, unexploded ordnance and other explosive remnants of war, in particular along the borders with Iran and Turkey. These devices are putting the safety and livelihood of more than 1.6 million Iraqis at risk. Since the launching of its weapon clearance activities in July 2010, the ICRC has removed over 2,500 pieces of unexploded ordnance from 42 danger areas in 30 communities inhabited by more than 25,000 people.

In January and February, eight ICRC mine clearance specialists were certified as EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) Operators Level 1. They removed 44 pieces of unexploded ordnance and inspected 5,000 square metres of potentially contaminated land in one community where more than 1,500 civilians have been directly exposed to danger.

Clarifying the fate of missing people

In January and February, a joint Iraqi-Iranian mission went to Al Fao, southern Iraq. The mission was headed by the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights, and took place under ICRC auspices. The mission's efforts made it possible to locate and exhume the remains of 178 soldiers killed during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. The remains of 21 Iranian soldiers were handed over to the Iranian authorities on 22 February. The ICRC also chaired two meetings in Kuwait to pursue efforts to clarify the fate of those still unaccounted for as a result of the 1990-1991 Gulf War.

The ICRC continued to expand the capabilities of national organizations, arranging for three employees of the Medico-Legal Institute in Baghdad to attend the conference of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Promoting compliance with international humanitarian law

Reminding parties to a conflict of their obligation to protect civilians is a fundamental part of the ICRC's work. The organization also promotes international humanitarian law by organizing presentations and training for military and police forces, prison staff, students and professors.

In January and February, the ICRC held three information sessions for 121 members of the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga, plus a training session for 16 formation commanders.



Babil. An ICRC staff member explains the organization’s mission and activities to community elders.

Erbil. In Sufaya, the ICRC renovates infrastructures to provide the population with clean water. 

Erbil. In Sufaya, the ICRC renovates infrastructures to provide the population with clean water.
© ICRC/Getty / E. Ou

Missan. ICRC weapon contamination specialists remove unexploded ordnance in areas where civilians are at risk. 

Missan. ICRC weapon contamination specialists remove unexploded ordnance in areas where civilians are at risk.
© ICRC / J.-C. Sandoz

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