The Kurdish Region of Iraq (KR-I) currently hosts 96 percent of Syrian refugees in Iraq. In response to the large influx of refugees following the Syrian crisis, the Kurdistan Regional Government has established nine refugee camps to support the most vulnerable who are unable to cover the costs of rent and utilities. Overall, 37 percent still reside in these long-term refugee camps, while 63 percent share public services with host communities and other displaced communities and cover their own costs. WFP provides food aid to 75 percent of the refugees in the camps, while UNHCR provides cash assistance for basic needs and wintering to 37 percent of the population outside the camps, based on the Vulnerability Assessment Tool (VAT) conducted in 2019 and a vulnerability forecasting model.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC VULNERABILITIES AMONG SYRIAN REFUGEES
The 2021 Multi-Sector Needs Assessment (MSNA), conducted on a representative sample of in- and out-of-camp refugees across the country and host communities in KR-I, confirmed that economic vulnerability is the root cause of harmful coping mechanisms and most sectoral needs. needs of refugees in Iraq. This is primarily due to a lack of revenue generating opportunities due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on Iraq’s already unfavorable economic environment. The devaluation of the Iraqi dinar in 2021 further deteriorated the purchasing power of both Iraqis and refugees, as market prices rose, while profit values remained flat. Data shows that refugees are more dependent on temporary work (93 percent) compared to host communities (50 percent). Since temporary work pays less and is less secure than regular work, this inequality explains refugees’ greater debt dependence and lower family income compared to host communities. Refugees in the camp have fewer or lower paid livelihood options than refugees outside the camp, as reflected in the lower average employment income reported by refugees in the camp (IQD 258.49) compared to refugees from the camp (IQD 436.271).
FOOD INSECURITY AMONG SYRIAN REFUGEES
The 2021 MSNA pointed to a deterioration in food security among refugees.
Only 14 percent of refugees in the camp and 43 percent of refugees outside the camp scored as ‘food safe’ in 2021, compared to 36 percent and 74 percent in 2020, respectively. A large proportion became ‘marginally safe’, and therefore walked the risk of food insecurity. Based on the WFP’s CARI methodology, the food security index score of refugees in camps indicates lower food security than refugees outside the camp. Refugees in the camp showed higher food expenditure compared to total household expenditure (Food Share) and a lower food consumption score than refugees outside the camp. An increase in the use of harmful copying strategies to buy food, such as buying food on credit, reducing spending on basic necessities, selling assets, child labor and school dropout, was noted in both groups and slightly higher among the refugee camps. .
Higher food insecurity among refugees in camps is in line with previous assessments conducted by WFP and UNHCR, including the Joint Vulnerability Assessment 2018, where higher socioeconomic vulnerabilities, such as lower income opportunities and job skills, illiteracy and large households, were identified as the main drivers of food insecurity among refugees. refugees in camps.