Shelter and Infrastructure Support for Non-Camp Refugees – KRG (1/2/2014 – 31/12/2014; USD 2,500,155)

This project was funded by UNHCR to assist the Syrian urban refugees living in poor shelter conditions and lacking basic services in Erbil, Sulaymania and Dohuk. In accordance with RRP 6 UN-Habitat aimed to support 10% of the most critically affected families with shelter support. Given that 760 families were assisted, the project aimed at targeting 3240 refugee families with adequate shelter solutions (basic improvements on incomplete houses being rented by the refugees to allow basic appropriate shelter). Additionally the project supported municipalities to provide basic services and cope with increased population in certain areas.


Water system constructed and/or upgraded (for 3500 persons)

Household sanitary facilities constructed

Latrines and water systems for IDP families improved

Shelter and Infrastructure Support for Non-Camp Refugees (1/2/2014 – 31/12/2014; USD 2,500,155)

Since 2011, approximately 240,000 Syrian refugees have fled Syria and escaped to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The majority of vulnerable Syrian refugee families are living in rented houses in urban neighbourhoods that lack tenure security (40 per cent in Erbil Governorate, 91 per cent in Dohuk Governorate, and 93 per cent in Sulaymaniyah Governorate). Furthermore, most of these refugees reside in overcrowded environments that do not satisfy basic safety, structural and sanitary standards.

The surge in population due to the refugee influx has strained the already vulnerable infrastructure system and service delivery in poor urban areas. The project was implemented in partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and in line with the Regional Response Plan (RRP) 6, which outlined the response priority objectives.

The project aimed to address the shelter needs of the Syrian refugees living in poor shelter conditions in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and to support municipalities in providing basic services to manage the rapid population growth.

Key outputs:

  • 414 rehabilitated housing units that accommodate approximately 3,500 Syrian refugees in Erbil, Dohuk, and Sulaymaniyah Governorates;
  • Improved water, sanitation and hygiene facilities both at individual household level and neighbourhood level; and
  • Semi-formalized rental agreements between homeowners and Syrian refugee tenants to ensure fixed rent for the agreed time period.

Durable Shelter Support for IDPs in Iraq (01/08/2014 – 31/03/2015; USD 7,850,850)

The ongoing conflict with the so-called Islamic State (IS) has had profound humanitarian consequences throughout Iraq. From January 2014 to May 2016, more than 3.3 million persons were displaced in Iraq. While tents may provide IDPs with temporary emergency shelter, in circumstances of long-term displacement such provisional shelter interventions often turn into slums. Furthermore, inadequate and insecure shelter conditions endanger women and girls, making them increasingly vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence. To address these challenges, the project aimed to develop four IDP shelter sites in Dohuk, Sulaymaniyah, Erbil, and Basra Governorates.

This project brought together the expertise of different UN agencies to tackle the multidimensional challenges of the crisis, enabling timely, effective and efficient responses. More specifically, UN-Habitat organized the selection, preparation and planning of the shelter sites, as well as the production and installation of durable prefabricated shelter units.

Furthermore, UN-Habitat coordinated with eight UN agencies (UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNOPS, WHO and IOM) to ensure that shelter sites are equipped with key facilities such as basic infrastructure, health clinics and schools. This integration of the expertise of different UN agencies towards the establishment of comprehensive shelter sites demonstrates the ‘Delivering as One’ initiative.

Key outputs:

  • Four IDP shelter sites with a total of 1,350 prefabricated residential units and public facilities that can accommodate approximately 8,100 vulnerable IDPs were established in Dawoodiya, Dohuk Governorate, Barznja, Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Baharka, Erbil Governorate, and Five Miles and St. Theresa Church, Basra Governorate; and

Electrical works in collective residential units in Tea Warehouses, Baghdad Governorate, were carried out to provide electricity to approximately 1,500 IDPs.

Humanitarian Support to IDPs through Provision of Durable Shelter (Phases I and II) (01/03/2015 – 28/02/2017; USD 24,500,000)

With the continuing crisis in Iraq, the number of IDPs in some of Iraq’s major cities has now exceeded their original population, putting host communities under severe pressure. Approximately 70 per cent of IDPs in Iraq either live with host families or in rented living space; 20 per cent of IDPs live in critical shelters, and 37 per cent are forced to live alongside unrelated families in overcrowded conditions.

Furthermore, 46 per cent of these dwellings do not have doors, and 51 per cent of those with doors do not have locks. With such exposure to risk, feelings of vulnerability are pervasive especially among the 25 per cent of IDPs that are women and adolescent girls of reproductive age. These women and girls also have specific needs related to menstruation and cultural norms of modesty, which are often not met in existing shelter conditions. Sexual harassment and verbal abuse of IDP women and girls is so severe and commonplace that many of them have receded from public space, therefore increasing their social isolation. 

Building on the success of the IDP shelter sites that were established in four governorates, UN-Habitat has installed new IDP shelter sites across Iraq, with special attention given to gender sensitivity and capacity building of government counterparts. The project aimed to enhance self-reliance and improve the living conditions of IDPs in Iraq; this has been achieved through the establishment of gender-sensitive IDP shelter sites equipped with durable prefabricated shelters as well as basic infrastructure and public facilities such as primary schools, reproductive health clinics, and women’s social centers.

Key outputs to date:

  • Four IDP shelter sites with a total of 1,407 prefabricated residential units and public facilities that can accommodate approximately 8,500 vulnerable IDPs were established in Darkar Ajam, Dohuk Governorate, Kerbala-Najaf Roadside, Kerbala Governorate, Al Amal Al Manshood, Baghdad Governorate, and Omarah, Missan Governorate;
  • Temporary premises for Fallujah University were established in Baghdad, equipped with 25 classrooms, 128 residential units that can accommodate 512 students, and a public administration building;
  • An IDP response strategy and an IDP beneficiary selection criteria were developed in collaboration with relevant humanitarian clusters as well as the targeted governorates; and
  • Capacity building training programmes for officials of the targeted governorates were delivered to enable and facilitate the development and management of IDP shelter sites.

Enhancing Health and Dignity of Displaced Women in Iraq (04/01/2015 – 30/06/2015; USD 995,100)

The crisis in Iraq has had a substantial impact on the delivery of public services in many areas of the country; among those severely affected is Iraq’s health sector. Health centers’ caseload has almost doubled in communities receiving IDPs, while maternity units and primary health care centers face serious shortages of supplies and equipment, and human resources, in addition to the poor infrastructure.

The added burden of the increased population has compromised the quality of health care, particularly for sexual and reproductive health, putting mothers and newborns at risk of morbidity and mortality. Moreover, overcrowded tents with numerous families create a stressful environment which impacts the psychological well-being of women and girls, and also makes them more vulnerable to gender-based violence.

Based on the request of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) within the framework of the Iraq Strategic Response Plan, this project was implemented in order to address the needs of displaced women and girls through multiple approaches including the establishment of reproductive health clinics and women’s spaces in the IDP camps, and supporting the delivery of reproductive health services in host communities.

 Key outputs:

 In the three governorates of Erbil, Dohuk and Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq,

  • 7 reproductive health units accompanied by women’s spaces were established;
  • 38 primary health care units/maternity clinics/nurseries were refurbished;
  • 6 women’s facilities operated by the Department of Labor and Social Affairs of the Kurdistan Regional Government were restored;
  • 7 cultural centers operated by NGOs were refurbished;
  • 1 maternity hospital was established; and
  • 2 hospitals received mechanical maintenance.

Promoting Urban Recovery in Newly Liberated Areas in Iraq (01/03/2016 – 28/02/2017; USD 5,500,000)

In 2015, a number of key cities in Iraq were liberated from the so-called Islamic State (IS). Despite this, only small numbers of IDPs have returned to these devastated cities where buildings and houses have been burned, shops have been looted, and roads and electrical grids have been severely damaged by major military operations. While the Government of Iraq has made significant efforts towards providing support to IDPs and returnees, the financial cost of the war against IS and the decline in oil prices have caused severe budget crises that necessitate the mobilization of substantial humanitarian support.

The recovery of newly liberated areas has great significance to the Government of Iraq in reasserting its authority over the divided country. Newly liberated areas also hold symbolic roles in demonstrating the Government’s efforts to restore stability and bridge Iraq’s sectarian divide. Successful repopulation and recovery of newly liberated areas can in fact accelerate the fight against IS, and gain back the support of local populations in IS controlled areas.

To this end, the project aims to promote the recovery of newly liberated areas in Iraq by enhancing self-reliance in the affected communities through:

(i) improving living conditions and gender sensitivity within communities in Ramadi through self-repair and the reconstruction of housing units as well as the installation, operation and maintenance of basic secondary infrastructure by community members;

(ii) supporting capacity development of community members to effectively operate and maintain housing units and basic secondary infrastructure.

 Key expected outputs:

  • Community recovery committees and women’s groups are established in the selected areas, and community-based recovery plans and beneficiary selection criteria are developed, ensuring the participation of women and girls;
  • Damaged housing units are rehabilitated and basic secondary infrastructure is installed using community-based recovery plans under the supervision of UN-Habitat engineers; and
  • Members of the targeted communities are trained to operate and maintain basic secondary infrastructure.

Pilot Housing Rehabilitation in Sinuni (01/07/2016 – 30/06/2017; USD 1,952,750)

The housing sector in a sub-district of Sinuni, Ninewa Governorate, has been severely affected by the recent hostilities. There has been varying degrees of damage to houses in towns and villages, some nearly completely destroyed. In order to guide and support any reconstruction efforts in the housing sector, it is vital to ensure housing, land and property rights and legal clarity on the recovery of private sector assets.

In addition, post-disaster housing rehabilitation presents one of the few opportunities to upgrade the quality of vulnerable housing and support local authorities in ensuring safe housing for their citizens. To this end, the project aims to improve the sustainability and resilience of cities and other human settlements in the country through the housing rehabilitation programme in Sinuni.

Key expected outputs:

  • Damaged housing units in Sinuni sub-district are rehabilitated; and
  • Data and technical advice is provided to local authorities for the most equitable distribution and application of housing, land and property rights.