EU gives $2.8m in Relief to Iraqi Children

By John Lee.

A recent contribution of USD2.8 million by the European Union has provided immediate relief to 90,000 vulnerable people -half of them children - in emergency camps in Salamiya, Hamam al Alil and Jeda'a 1 and 5 IDP camps within Ninawa governorate.

Only 39 per cent of Iraq's population have access to safely managed drinking water. The situation is particularly dire for thousands of vulnerable families living in camps and who depend on humanitarian support for their survival.

"The generous contribution from the EU enabled UNICEF to continue trucking in safe water for drinking and cooking. This helped to protect the health of children and their families from dangerous diseases, including Acute Watery Diarrhea and Cholera, both which can result from the consumption of unsafe water," said Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF Representative in Iraq.

Funds were also used to support appropriate sanitation facilities and maintaining a clean and hygienic environment through care maintenance and waste management, water quality monitoring and distribution.

Iraqi and non-Iraqi children continue to be vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation and in need of protection prevention and response services in both camp and non-camp settings. In addition, many of the children in former conflict areas do not have birth certificate and other civil document, which is a legacy of conflict and upheaval in Iraq. This has restricted their ability to move out of camps and to access to social services like health, education and social protection.

Thanks to the EU's longstanding support, UNICEF has also been able to:

  • repatriate 200 foreign children back to their countries of origin;
  • provide psychosocial services to 4,235 children (2125 girls);
  • legal assistance to 596 children (188 girls) in contact with the law;
  • A further 1,107 children (373 girls) received birth registration and civil documentation.

(Source: UN)

Psychological First Aid Training in Iraq

WHO conducts remote psychological first aid training in Iraq to address COVID-19 stigma and discriminatory

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been experiencing varying degrees of fear, concern, anxiety and stress which requires psychological support to enable them to cope better with the challenges they are facing.

In Iraq, WHO identified groups in need of psychological care, with a special focus on women, and addressed their needs through a series of online training sessions on psychological first aid and how to address stigma and discrimination.

In April this year, remote psychological first aid training was provided to more than 100 participants from several organizations working in the field of mental health and psychosocial support. The training introduced the principles of providing psychological care using phones or social media outlets.

Participants were coached to deal with stigma and shame suffered by people who have contracted COVID-19. They shared observations of negative behaviours and attitudes seen as directly contributing to negative health outcomes and difficulties in accessing information on the disease in pandemic-affected locations.

One of the training participants commented: "My neighbour refused to allow his 68-year-old mother to go to the isolation facility because of stigma. It is hard for a man in Iraq to allow his mother, wife, daughter or his sister to be taken for quarantine or isolation outside the family home; community traditions and social norms don't allow it."

Other participants spoke about how people infected with COVID-19 experience severe stress due to isolation from the family, neighbours, relatives and community.

"Stigma in some areas is cultural or grounded in social beliefs around the shame of getting a communicable disease," another participant from Mosul commented. "I think a lot of people don't understand that we all are vulnerable to COVID-19; acquiring the disease can happen to anyone and we need to focus on raising awareness and educating ourselves on preventive measures, the top of which is social distancing and hand hygiene. There is no shame in going into quarantine or staying away from family and friends if you are sick."

Participants were also made aware of the important role they play in convincing the populations they serve to report suspected COVID-19 cases and encouraging them to maintain a proper and healthy lifestyle, including adopting appropriate breathing, talking, eating and body hygiene protocols.

"People with COVID-19 have to a certain level been negatively associated with stigma and discrimination worldwide," said Dr Adham R. Ismail, WHO Representative in Iraq. "WHO and the Ministry of Health and Environment jointly confirm that all people regardless of race, social status or ethnic background are vulnerable to the disease if protective measures are not properly followed." "WHO and health authorities recognize the importance of addressing the health needs of those in need and continue providing specialized services to help them feel calm and able to maintain normal life activities in this difficult time," concluded Dr Ismail.

(Source: UN)

Foreign Staff Evacuated from Basra Gas Company

 By John Lee.

Shell has reportedly evacuated its foreign staff who had been working at the Basra Gas Company (BGC).

BGC executives told Reuters that around 60 staff were flown out on Wednesday after workers who had been laid off staged a protest.

Shell has a 44-percent stake in the $17-billion, 25-year BGC project, with Iraq's South Gas Company (SGC) having 51 percent, and Japan's Mitsubishi 5 percent.

(Source: Reuters)

COVID-19: ICRC Response in Iraq

By John Lee.

The first Covid-19 case in Iraq was officially confirmed on 24 February 2020, and as figures continue to rise across the country, authorities are adopting increasingly stringent measures to avert further spread of the virus.

While these important measures can help contain the outbreak, they are also creating serious additional challenges for a population suffering from decades of conflict, economic deprivation, and political uncertainty.

More here.

(Source: ICRC)

Parts of Baghdad in Full Lockdown due to COVID-19

By Al-Monitor staff. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Parts of Iraqi capital go under full lockdown after jump in virus cases

Parts of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, will go under a full lockdown after a jump in coronavirus cases, Iraqi Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi announced in a statement posted on social media today.

The order said there will be a full lockdown starting Wednesday for two weeks in several Baghdad neighborhoods. The areas covered include several populous areas outside downtown Baghdad, including Ameria and Sadr City.

The decision follows 150 new coronavirus cases recorded in Iraq today, with 120 in Baghdad, including 48 in the Rusafa area, the ministry said. Other places where cases were registered included Najaf, Karbala and Sulaimaniyah.

Click here to read the full story.

Petrel Resources considers Opportunities in Iraq

By John Lee.

Petrel Resources has announced that it is interested in the 'fresh opportunities' in Iraq thrown up by the turbulent oil price and political events of recent months.

In a statement, the company said that its Iraqi Director, Riadh Ani, is coordinating discussions with the Ministry of Oil in Baghdad to take advantage of the situation.

(Source: Petrel)

Iraq Denies Plans to Shut al-Ahdab Field

By John Lee.

Iraq's oil ministry has denied a report from Bloomberg that it plans to shut down the al-Ahdab oil field in Wasit due to protests.

In a statement the Ministry said the protests near the field are not related to the oil industry, but to the administration of the province.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

Iraq’s Economy on the Precipice – Reform Needed

Iraq's economy is on the precipice - reforming the energy sector is a key part of the solution

The publication of the following commentary follows a conversation between the IEA's Executive Director, Dr Fatih Birol (pictured), and Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi of Iraq, who recently took office.

It examines one of the key topics of their conversation: the major impediments to the development of Iraq's energy sector and, by extension, its economy.

More here.

(Source: IEA)

Russia Considers Major Investment in Iraqi Gas Field

From Middle East Monitor, under a Creative Commons licence. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Russian Ambassador to Iraq, Maxim Maksimov [Maximov] (pictured), said that Russia is seeking to invest heavily in Al-Mansouriya gas field, in the Diyala governorate.

Maksimov said in a press statement yesterday that "Russian companies are willing to mobilise significant funds and have submitted an investment tender for Al-Mansouriya gas field in Diyala."

 He added that "three Russian companies in Iraq produce about 600,000 barrels of oil per day, including Gazprom, which operates in the Badra oil field in Wasit Governorate with a production capacity of 100,000 barrels of oil per day, in addition to 400,000 barrels in the [West Qurna 2] field."

The Russian ambassador stated that his country is paying special attention to the Russian-Iraqi Commission.

Moscow has assigned its deputy prime minister to head the Russian delegation, in preparation for a very important meeting between the two sides, which was postponed due to the coronavirus crisis.

KRG PM Barzani calls for Constitutional Solution

Prime Minister Barzani chairs cabinet meeting, calls for constitutional solution to problems with Baghdad

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chaired a cabinet meeting in Erbil on Wednesday to discuss economic conditions in the Kurdistan Region and outstanding problems with the federal government.

In the meeting, which was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, the Prime Minister wished success to the new Iraqi cabinet, and stressed the need for a constitutional solution to ongoing issues between Erbil and Baghdad.

The cabinet discussed proposed draft bills covering the selling and renting of public properties, investment, and patients' rights. Relevant departments in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) were assigned to prepare final drafts for parliament.

Prime Minister Barzani said the Kurdistan Region is going through difficult economic times due to falling oil prices and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and must make adjustments due to limited financial resources.

He called for a review of the economy in light of the regional financial downturn, and underlined the importance of continuing to implement the Reform Law (2020).

The Prime Minister said the KRG will do its best to pay public sector salaries, and reiterated his commitment to continue providing public services and strengthening the region's infrastructure.

During the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Talabani provided an update on recent discussions with federal authorities on budgetary issues and oil exports. He said dialogue with Baghdad will continue to reach a deal on outstanding problems.

(Source: KRG)