BAGHDAD, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- With hundreds of thousands of Iraqi families still stuck in poverty, the new Iraqi government is facing challenges to help the families in need.
Bassim Abdul-Zaman, Iraqi minister of labor and social affairs, said in a statement earlier in the week that "the ministry is working on expanding the social protection program to include some 4500,000 destitute families."
"There are six provinces suffering from low living standards and they need further social programs and plans because in the coming stages, the ministry will have to meet a larger number of destitute families," the minister said.
He urged the parliament to realize the great need to support the ministry by allocating more funds for the ministry's share of the 2019 budget.
"The ministry is dealing with 17 percent of the Iraqi society, who are poor, disabled or jobless," he added.
The government is working on an emergency project which includes three sub-projects to be implemented in those six provinces.
The emergency project was launched late in 2018, aiming at providing better livelihood opportunities for the residents and returnees of the liberated areas to help them reintegrate in the society.
According to a report from the World Bank, the standard of living in Iraq has deteriorated and a noticeable share of the population has fallen into poverty or is extremely vulnerable to falling into poverty.
After more than three decades of instability, wars, economic sanctions and the U.S.-led invasion that led to many social and economic problems, Iraq has been facing a lot of socio-economic challenges.
Isaam Sabah Ibrahim, an socio-economic expert, told Xinhua that the humanitarian situation in Iraq was badly affected after three years of battles to free large swathes of territories in northern and western Iraq from the extremist Islamic State (IS) group.
"The unrest since 2014, has left 8.7 million people in need and about 2 million people internally displaced," Ibrahim said, citing latest figures from the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq.
The Iraqi parliament has so far failed to pass 2019 budget draft because of political differences among the political parties and between Baghdad and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.