The Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I) currently hosts 96% of Syrian refugees in Iraq. In response to the large influx of refugees following the crisis in Syria, the Kurdistan Regional Government has established nine refugee camps to support the most vulnerable who are unable to cover rent and utility costs. Overall, 37% still reside in these protracted refugee camps, while 63% share utilities with host communities and other displaced communities and cover their own costs. WFP provides food assistance to 75% of the refugees in the camps while UNHCR provides cash assistance for basic needs and wintering to 37% of the non-camp population, based on the toolkit. vulnerability assessment (VAT) carried out in 2019 and a vulnerability forecast. model.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC VULNERABILITIES OF SYRIAN REFUGEES
The 2021 Multi-Sectoral Needs Assessment (MSNA) conducted on a representative sample of in-camp and out-of-camp refugees nationwide and host communities in KR-I, confirmed that economic vulnerability is the root cause depth of harmful coping mechanisms and most of the needs of refugees in Iraq. This is primarily a result of a lack of income generating opportunities due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on the already unfavorable economic environment in Iraq. The devaluation of the Iraqi dinar in 2021 further deteriorated the purchasing power of Iraqis and refugees, due to an increase in market prices, while earnings values remained the same. The data showed a greater reliance of refugees on temporary work (93%) compared to host communities (50%). Since temporary work is less remunerative and less secure than regular employment, this disparity explains refugees’ higher reliance on debt and lower household incomes compared to host communities. Refugees in camps have fewer or fewer livelihoods than refugees out of camp, as evidenced by the lower average income from sources of employment reported by refugees in camps (IQD 258.49) compared to refugees out of camp (IQD 436, 271).
FOOD INSECURITY AMONG SYRIAN REFUGEES
MSNA 2021 highlighted a deterioration in refugee food security.
Only 14 percent of in-camp refugees and 43 percent of out-of-camp refugees achieved “food secure” status in 2021, compared to 36 percent and 74 percent respectively in 2020. A large proportion have become “marginally secure,” therefore at risk of food insecurity. Based on WFP’s CARI method, the food security index rating of refugees in camps indicates lower food security than refugees out of camp. Refugees in camps had higher food expenditure relative to total household expenditure (food share) and a lower food consumption score than non-camp refugees. An increase in the use of harmful copycat strategies to obtain food, such as buying food on credit, cutting back on basic needs, selling assets, child labor and l school dropout was identified in both groups and slightly higher among children living in the camps. refugees.
The higher food insecurity among refugees in the camps is consistent with previous assessments conducted by WFP and UNHCR, including the 2018 Joint Vulnerability Assessment, where higher socio-economic vulnerabilities, such as Lower incomes and job skills, illiteracy and large household sizes have been identified as the main drivers of food insecurity among refugees in the camps.