Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 12 April 2017
The cumulative number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has reached more than 400,000 people1 since military operations to retake the city of Mosul began on 17 October 2016. Just over 20% have since returned to their areas of origin, mostly in and around east Mosul. Most families from Mosul still in displacement today are from west Mosul and fled less than two months ago, after military operations to retake the west bank of the city started on 19 February 2017.
Since the start of military operations aiming at retaking west Mosul, an estimated 282,000 individuals have passed through Hammam al Alil screening site, according to authorities. IDPs from west Mosul gather at pre-arranged locations in government-controlled areas in and around Mosul, where they are met by the military and transferred to Hammam Al-Alil screening site for a final clearance. About 7,000 IDPs reached Hammam Al-Alil yesterday (11 April), according to local authorities, a slight increase compared to 5,000 IDPs per day in previous days. Families arrive from various neighbourhoods in west Mosul, including recently retaken areas of the city, such as Yarmuk.
Living conditions in west Mosul continue to deteriorate. Military operations are ongoing in west Mosul, and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) reportedly retook an additional two neighbourhoods during the past week (Matahin and Yarmuk). New arrivals interviewed by UNHCR teams in camps east of Mosul say they fled west Mosul due to the lack of security as the face heavy mortar rounds, and the risk of being used as human shields by extremist groups who reportedly enter houses and force families to move towards strategic areas.
Food shortages are reportedly causing malnutrition among those remaining in west Mosul. According to media reports, among the new arrivals coming from Mosul, a growing number of children are showing signs of malnutrition – most of them less than six-monthsold. Families who have managed to flee the city continue to report that food in west Mosul is in extremely short supply. Lack of potable water, electricity, and fuel are also frequently mentioned by newly displaced families who recently arrived in camps east of Mosul.
Hammam Al-Alil 2 camp (UNHCR), has received its first new arrivals today, 12 April. The camp is located less than a kilometre away from Hammam Al-Alil screening site, south of Mosul, and has started receiving new arrivals early this morning. The camp is ready to immediately receive up to 10,000 IDPs. An extension is under construction. Once completed, the camp will have capacity to shelter 30,000 IDPs. UNHCR’s partners for camp management and protection are providing essential protection services, and essential household items are prepositioned at the camp for 3,000 families (about 18,000 individuals)
Camp construction is rapidly accelerating to meet the shelter needs of families newly displaced from west Mosul. Camps built around Mosul by the government and humanitarian partners are ready to immediately receive about 44,000 IDPs. Capacity to host an additional 12,000 families will be available by mid-April. UNHCR is currently building three camps, including Hammam Al-Alil 2, for up to 99,000 IDPs.
Needs for emergency assistance, including essential protection services to newly displaced families, are rapidly increasing. Since 17 October, 463,565 individuals have been reached by protection partners. With a continuous influx of IDPs from west Mosul, the need for specialized services such psychological first aid, family reunification, and legal assistance continues to increase. During the past week, over 30,000 children received psychosocial support or psychological first aid. Protection partners are looking into ways to expand their activities both in terms of geographic coverage and scope of available services.
UNHCR needs USD 212 million in 2017 to continue providing urgent protection, shelter and camp coordination and camp management assistance to Iraqis displaced from Mosul.