Number of Iraqis living in poverty at 30%

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By Shaymaa Adel

Azzaman, August 31, 2014

Poverty in Iraq has risen to nearly 30% after it had dropped to 19%, the Planning Ministry said in a statement.

Iraq has a population of 32 million people and the substantial rise in poverty rates means that more than 10 million Iraqis are now poor.

The statement attributed the surge in poverty to mounting violence since last June’s stunning advances by jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) who now control large parts of the country.

The ongoing battles with IS militants are reported to have displaced more than 1.5 million Iraqis particularly from the restive provinces of Nineveh, Anbar, Kirkuk, Salahudeen and Diyala.

“The country is passing through extraordinary conditions, which are bound to reflect on the well-being of Iraqi population,” the statement said.

The surge means that it has become extremely hard for more than 10 million Iraqis to make ends meet.

“The ministry has not carried out a survey to determine the rate of poverty but there are expectations that it has surged to 30% from 19%,” said the statement. “The rate increased because of the wave of internally displaced people whose numbers have reached 1.5 million and these are all poor after losing all their belongings including housing.”

The statement said the ministry has put into action a “national strategic plan” to alleviate poverty and solve the problems internal refugees face like housing and education.

Iraqi poverty expert Majid al-Souri said he agreed with the ministry’s assessment.

“Iraq is passing through unprecedented, extraordinary and tragic conditions … characterized by absence of political and security stability in many parts and lack of clear solutions to solve problems,” Souri said.

The expert said displaced Iraqis were not receiving good care and that government allocations were not reaching those in need “due to lack of transparency and corruption.”