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Emergency assistance and subsidiary social assistance for the most vulnerable persons in Erbil and Dohuk province

More than a million internally displaced persons and refugees have been seeking safety in three Kurdish governorates since the beginning of the crisis. Nearly 30% of displaced Iraqis and nearly all of the 250,000 Syrian refugees in the country are staying in Iraqi Kurdistan.

According to available data, 80% of the displaced persons live in rented homes or with temporarily hosting families. The need for local services such as education, access to water and plumbing facilities, managing solid waste, access to health care facilities as well as competition in the labour market is growing with each year. The result is a radically lowered standard of living in all three governorates. Conditions worsened after the referendum in Kurdistan at the end of September when international flights were suspended at the airports in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, impacting economic activity and trade in the region. In mid-October, when the Iraqi security forces were taking over the disputed areas, including Kirkuk, more than 180,000 people fled their homes, most of them seeking safety and help in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah.

Emergency assistance and subsidiary social assistance for the most vulnerable persons in Erbil and Dohuk province

The Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH) has been operating in Kurdistan for several years already. Its activities focus on carrying aid to the most deprived persons living in the Governorates of Erbil and Dohuk. Under the programme of carrying immediate supplementary aid, the Polish Humanitarian Action has been working together with the local organisation Mercy Hand (MH). PAH will be dealing with distribution of financial aid for the most deprived persons. During this time, MH will be providing legal services for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in obtaining legal documents. MH will also be providing legal assistance to sexual violence victims. In addition, MH is to launch pilot vocational assistance programmes for IDPs.

The help will be offered to the most deprived persons from the beginning of May until the end of December. Support can be sought by internally displaced persons and the local population. Beneficiaries of the project will be selected by a questionnaire that evaluates the scale of needs in financial, legal or vocational assistance. The most vulnerable persons will be able to obtain more than one form of aid offered by PAH in cooperation with MH.

Over eight months (May through December), financial aid will be available to 5,706 persons, 500 persons will be qualified for legal assistance and 190 persons will obtain help in finding a job.