Located in the north of Iraq, Erbil borders Turkey
to the north and Iran to the east. Erbil combines
with Dahuk and Sulaymaniyah to form the area
administrated by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The city of Erbil is the capital of both Erbil
governorate and the KRG. The administrative status
of Makhmur district, which borders on Ninewa, has
yet to be officially determined. The security
situation remains generally calm. UNESCO has
financed a project to renovate and revitalise the
Citadel in Erbil city, one of the world’s oldest
inhabited settlements, aged between 3000 and 6000
The provincial government views agriculture as a key
means of generating employment and alleviating food
insecurity in the governorate. However, lack of
investment and modern farming methods have hindered
production. The provincial government wants to
increase access to formal credit sources, modernise
farming methods and improve infrastructure to boost
productivity and job creation. Just 6% of Erbil’s
labour force is employed in agriculture, while
unemployment in rural areas is 24%, rising to 65%
among rural women.
Although few of Erbil’s residents are among Iraq’s
poorest, the governorate performs relatively poorly
according to humanitarian and developmental
indicators. 26% of children aged 0-5 years in
Makhmur suffer from acute malnutrition, and a
further 15% suffer from chronic malnutrition.
A quarter of Erbil’s population aged 10 years and
over are illiterate, with women (36%) suffering more
than men (15%).
Infrastructure is poor across the governorate. The
vast majority of households in all districts except
Koisnjaq suffer from prolonged power cuts. One in
five of Erbil’s households has no sanitation or uses
a hole to dispose human waste. This problem
is particularly acute in Mergasur, Shaqlawa, Soran,
Choman and Khabat, where this figure rises to
between 32% and 59% of households. Most households
in Shaqlawa, Choman and Mergasur are not connected
to the water network.
Erbil hosts a considerable number of IDPs, almost
all of whom come from Baghdad and Ninewa. 89% of
Erbil’s IDPs live in Erbil district. Over half (58%)
of IDPs in the governorate are unable to access the
Public Distribution System. Almost all the
governorate’s IDPs live in rented accommodation, but
the quality of the housing is often poor. Food
and shelter are the two major priority needs for IDP
families in the governorate. However, 68% of IDP
families have a family member in employment, far
higher than the national average of 33%.
Makhmur has been identified as a priority district
for the UN’s Iraq Humanitarian Action Plan 2010.