Summer season in Iraq ranges from late May till beginning of September and is characterized by hot, dry weather with temperatures reaching and exceeding 50 ?C (121 ?F), and occasional thunder and dust storms. For People in Need1 (PIN) occupying sub-standard shelter, including emergency tents in camp settings, shading and cooling are essential to protect against heat exhaustion and exposure which negatively impact broader protection outcomes related to thermal discomfort, worsening health conditions, and thus their overall safety and dignity.

As such, past SNFI Cluster Guidance has recommended the emergency provision of a basic summer package to PIN, consisting of a core package of an additional jerry can for water storage and a cool box, with potential supplementary items including rechargeable fans, communal area shading, tent shading, and summer clothing. All these items have proven effective during the emergency phase, yet the thermal discomfort linked to the very hot temperatures inside critical shelter can only be mitigated by mechanical cooling systems (e.g. AWC).

Humanitarian partners and the Government of Iraq (GoI) have therefore responded to needs since 2014, covering both in-camp and vulnerable out of camp populations. As camp populations on the whole have decreased by more than 17,000 HHs since last year2 , and with all people living in camps covered via blanket distributions over the last two summer seasons, the SNFI Cluster is therefore recommending that any in-camp summer assistance target only new arrivals since September 2018, who are unlikely to have received a summer kit in previous years, as part of their broad non-food item assistance.

Out of camp assistance is recommended to be used only in cases of highly-vulnerable families as assessed by the Cash Working Group’s Socio-Economic Vulnerability Assessment Tool (SEVAT) found in critical shelter, and is recommended to be provided as a cash package in most instances, allowing households to prioritize the summer assistance they select.

In an environment of limited humanitarian funding and a slowly re-established overall security situation, targeting improvements to the overall quality of shelter – including tent replacement where necessary, upgrading critical shelter out of camps, and rehabilitation of war-damaged structures for households desiring to return home will have a greater impact on exposure to heat than continual replacement of summer items that are of limited utility without the provision of water, ice, and electricity.

The GoI, in particular the Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MoMD), has been providing air water coolers, and other summer items in camps and to other vulnerable populations, and are encouraged to continuing doing so, as observations by the SNFI Cluster indicate that people prefer and value these items, when provided with sufficient water and electricity to use them, and thus keep them and maintain them from year to year. Ultimately, the government is responsible for meeting needs in Iraq, and when they are willing and able to do so, the humanitarian response is best focused on complementing the government response by meeting other more urgent needs.

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees