The bombing of the Al-Askari mosque in Samarra in February 2006 and the ensuing sectarian violence as well as the general precarious security situation have resulted in displacement and lack of basic protection for the civilian population. The hardship of vulnerable groups has increased, with little access to employment and basic services such as water, sanitation and health-care and education.
Since 2003, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have crossed into neighbouring countries. By 2013, tens of thousands of vulnerable Iraqis are still living in dire conditions both within and outside Iraq.
The €7 million aid package adopted in 2013 provides protection and relief to people displaced inside Iraq as well as other vulnerable populations affected by the conflict. ECHO also allocates aid to refugees in Jordan and Lebanon to cover and emergency support to the most vulnerable. Specific support for UNHCR's core mandate of protection is also provided. This is particularly important in identifying the most vulnerable groups and assessing their specific needs.
Humanitarian access in Iraq is still a major problem due to heightened security risks. Many areas in Iraq remain inaccessible for international organisations, which hampers the needs assessments and delivery of humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable groups.