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The overall security situation in Iraq has been improving since the defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) at the end of 2017, although significant challenges remain – including political and security transitions, economic instability, and social unrest due to rising unemployment, eroded public services and persistent low standards of living. The humanitarian situation is still precarious in many conflict-affected areas. With the poverty rate standing at 22.5 percent, Iraq ranks 120 of 189 countries in the 2019 Human Development Index.


Despite its economic and human potential, the country is still suffering the effects of decades of conflict. The economy is gradually recovering following the strains of the last three years. Intermittent conflict, however, continues to aggravate the poverty rate and threaten livelihoods. 1.77 million people remain susceptible to food insecurity.


The situation of internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees remains precarious following the return process that began in 2018. There are currently 1.44 million displaced Iraqis, 4.46 million returnees and 234,831 Syrian refugees in Iraq. While those numbers seem to be decreasing, some families report secondary displacements as they are forced to return to camps because of security conditions and the lack of job and livelihood opportunities in their regions of origin. 


The assistance provided by the World Food Programme (WFP) in Iraq focuses on saving lives and protecting livelihoods, supporting the Government of Iraq's social safety nets towards Zero Hunger. Through emergency assistance to IDPs and refugees, and recovery and reconstruction activities for returnees, WFP is helping the Iraqi Government reduce vulnerability and build people’s resilience and food security.

39 million
1.44 million
people have been displaced by conflict
1.77 million
people remain susceptible to food insecurity

What the World Food Programme is doing in Iraq

  • Public Distribution System

    WFP Iraq is providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Trade to digitise the Public Distribution System (PDS) of food rations: Iraq’s biggest social safety net. The aim of this project is to create an electronic platform to bring about better transparency and management of the PDS operations, while providing timely and more efficient services and engagement with the country’s 39 million citizens.
  • Coordination

    WFP provides some 350,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 42,000 Syrian refugees in camps with monthly food assistance in the form of cash transfers or food rations. The Government of Iraq is increasing its collaborations to better meet the food needs of IDPs. In regular coordination meetings, WFP and relevant Ministries discuss distribution plans and how to complement each other’s food baskets. In 2019, over 40% of WFP’s assistance to IDPs has been delivered as a 'top-up', complementing to government assistance.
  • School feeding

    Based on an agreement with the Ministry of Education, the school feeding programme will resume in December 2019, reaching 300,000 school children in 1,200 schools in 11 governorates across Iraq. In 2018, WFP introduced an Emergency School Feeding programme in West Mosul, reaching around 89,000 children with healthy snacks of bread, cheese, milk and fresh seasonal fruit, four or five days a week.
  • Resilience

    As people affected by conflict begin rebuilding their livelihoods, WFP is scaling up its Food Assistance for Assets (FFA) programme to facilitate vulnerable households’ access to food through restoring agricultural sources of income, protecting productive assets and increasing domestic production. WFP is also implementing the innovative EMPACT resilience programme, which equips young Syrian refugees and vulnerable Iraqi youth with mobile income-generating skills that can easily be marketed in the global digital economy.

Iraq news releases

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Partners and donors

Achieving Zero Hunger is the work of many. Our work in Iraq is made possible by the support and collaboration of our partners and donors, including:



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