New U.S. Funding Helps WFP Scale-Up Its COVID-19 Response in Iraq

Photo: WFP/Inger Marie Vennize
Published July 20, 2020

BAGHDAD – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) received a special contribution for its COVID-19 humanitarian response in Iraq from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). The generous funding of $6.25 million will help provide food assistance over three months for nearly 80,000 internally displaced Iraqis and 22,000 Syrian refugees, whose needs have grown as a result of the global pandemic.

Many people have lost their jobs during the crisis and no longer have an income. Through monthly cash transfers, mostly via mobile phone, the new U.S. contribution will help the U.N. World Food Programme support vulnerable internally displaced and refugee families in camps. Markets and camp stores are still open and functioning, so people can redeem their cash entitlements and buy the food they need.

In response to COVID-19, the U.N. World Food Programme has scaled up its assistance in Iraq to reach 76,000 refugees and 280,000 displaced people.

“During the crisis, we have stepped up our support for families who are no longer able to put food on the table and are relying more on humanitarian assistance,” said U.N. World Food Programme Iraq Representative Abdirahman Meygag.

“As our most generous contributor so far in 2020, WFP is grateful to USAID and the American people for enabling WFP to support families through these uncertain times.”

As part of the U.N. World Food Programme’s approach to cash assistance, new “cashless payments” are being introduced in camps in three governorates so far: Diyala, Ninewa and Salah al-Din. This allows people to buy food at camp shops directly through their mobile phones in a “contactless” manner. Cashless transactions reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the virus as well as avoid people’s unnecessary movement outside the camp.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA @WFP_Iraq @wfp_mena

For more information please contact (email address:

  • Sharon Rapose, WFP, +44 7958 958 959,
  • Islam Anbagi, WFP, +964 780 915 0989,