Iraq: Humanitarian Bulletin, July - August 2016 | Issued on 29 August [EN/AR/KU]
- New displacements caused by military operations in the Mosul corridor.
- Humanitarian organizations are responding to ongoing needs while scaling up in preparation for large-scale displacements from Mosul.
- More than 850,000 displaced people have returned to their homes.
- Funding shortfalls limit the ongoing humanitarian response and hamper the preparations for Mosul.
New displacement along Mosul corridor
Military operations along the Mosul corridor have intensified since mid-June forcing nearly 84,000 people between 16 June and 24 August to flee along two main trajectories, according to IOM: the vast majority (approximately 69,500 people) went south towards Salah al-Din Governorate, while others (approximately 14,500 people) fled east towards Debaga in Erbil Governorate.
Families displaced from the western bank of the Tigris river in Al Qayyarah and Al Shirqat districts walk 30-60 kilometres to reach Tulul Baq, where they undergo a first security screening. From there, they are transported further south to a transit site at Al Hajjah, where they undergo final security clearance and registration. Many have settled in host community areas in and around Tikrit, however, more recently, families have begun to move to displacement camps. With limited camp capacities, families also live in schools, empty houses and unfinished buildings. Humanitarian partners are providing ready-to-eat food and water to the newly displaced, and shading and health care via mobile clinics.
However, the limited number of NGOs operating in Salah al-Din is preventing further scale up of operations.
Families from the east bank of the Tigris from Al Qayyarah to Al Shirqat head up to 50 kilometres towards Makhmur in Erbil Governorate, from where they are transported to Debaga camp. The influx of new displaced families has added further pressure on the congestion of the camp. Of the currently over 35,000 inhabitants, over 8,000 live in the congested security screening area as no tents are available for screened families to move into. The Debaga Stadium shelters over 4,700 people and the new site, Debaga 2, over 11,000 people. One camp extension with 600 plots is underway and others are planned.
In Kirkuk Governorate, military operations launched mid-June in Hawiga have forced an increasing number of families from their homes seeking safety in territory controlled by the Government. In recent weeks, the number of new arrivals in Kirkuk has tripled to over 2,500 people per week. Some families flee via Debaga camp in Erbil from where they are transported to Kirkuk, while others flee northeast to try to reach government controlled areas of Kirkuk directly. The two major displacement camps in Kirkuk, Laylan and Nazrawa, are near capacity. A new camp in Daquq is under construction and partners are considering out-of-camp solutions.
Protection concerns and lack of access to basic services
Protection of displaced people remains a key concern for humanitarian partners. Families on the move have reportedly been victims of improvised explosive devices, snipers and other attacks by armed group actors. In some cases, families have remained stranded waiting to cross into government held territory with no humanitarian support. The security vetting process that all displaced men and boys older than 14 years undergo is stringent and humanitarian partners have raised concerns about the protection of civilians during displacement, including at security screening sites. The distance to the battlefield is in some cases not sufficient, as frontlines remain dynamic. Screening sites also offer very limited shelter, shading, food, water, hygiene and sanitation and healthcare. On 19 August, six mortar shells impacted at a fertiliser plant north of Baiji used as a screening site, reportedly killing 14 and injuring 35 people, including over 20 displaced people. The site has since been closed.
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