Four decades of serious economic and social decline in Iraq resulted in Saddam Hussein being deposed in 2003. The chaos and civil war that ensued left the country in ruin with a divided government and society. Several militant groups have managed to exploit this situation, including the so-called Islamic State which established itself over great swathes of Iraqi and Syrian territory, its tyranny driving hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. According to estimates, there are over 3 million internally displaced people in the country and more than a third of the population needs immediate humanitarian aid as a result of the conflict.
People in Need began to work in Iraq back in 2003, when it focused on reconstruction and renovation of schools and health centres. We gradually began passing on our own experiences with renewal of civil society after the fall of a totalitarian regime. Due to the deteriorating security situation in 2004, we moved to Amman in Jordan from where we ran our Iraq programme from a distance. We were able to return in 2010 and we opened a new office in the north, in Iraqi Kurdistan. At that time, PIN was concentrating primarily on supporting local initiatives and local governments, journalists and activists who all shared the goal of improving observance of human rights in the country.
In reaction to the humanitarian crisis caused by the seizure of a large section of Ninive province by the so-called Islamic State in June 2014, we concentrated primarily on provision of immediate material aid to war stricken people. We are currently helping people mainly fleeing the fighting in the city of Mosul. We distribute materials for providing shelter, basic household and hygiene items. We also focus on resuming provision of education and on psychosocial support for children.