IOM distributes clothing vouchers for 6,350 displaced families in Northern Iraq

GENEVA, 6th February 2015 (WAM) — The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has begun the distribution of clothing vouchers this week for 6,350 displaced families in the cities of Dohuk and Erbil, northern Iraq. Funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the US$450 vouchers will enable displaced families to buy warm clothing to help them survive the winter.

The majority of the displaced fled their homes during the summer with little more than the clothing they were wearing and are unprepared for cold weather. Through IOM’s agreement with Maxi Mall in Dohuk and Erbil, voucher recipients can visit the store and choose from a variety of items that best meet their individual needs. Many are selecting shoes and winter jackets.

The clothing voucher distribution is taking place over a period of two weeks in cooperation with local officials and community leaders, who helped IOM to identify the most vulnerable displaced people. Over 60 per cent of the vouchers have thus far been distributed.

In a press release, IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss, said, “Many of the displaced people have lost everything their homes, livelihoods and all their possessions. IOM Iraq offers a range of services to support displaced people through the winter months, including distribution of non-food relief item kits, winterised shelter, and fuel vouchers. We are pleased to carry out this clothing voucher distribution, but recognise that these people represent just a small portion of those in need. Additional funding is required, as thousands more displaced across the country still need help.” According to IOM’s latest Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) over 2.17 million Iraqis have been displaced by the current conflict since January 2014. Of these, 30 per cent are in critical shelter arrangements, such as informal settlements, religious buildings, schools and unfinished buildings. Of the more than 462,000 displaced individuals in Dohuk governorate, over 193,000 are in critical shelter arrangements.

As part of the UN Humanitarian Country Team, IOM aims to assist 750,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) affected by the current crisis in Iraq. IOM Iraq’s funding requirements are US$295.5 million the IOM Iraq Appeal, as part of the UN Strategic Response Plan, is currently funded at 28 per cent.