Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 13 April 2017
Thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) continue to flee west Mosul daily. About 7,500 IDPs reportedly arrived at Hammam Al-Alil screening site, 25 km south of Mosul, on 12 April. IDPs undergo a final security clearance in Hammam Al-Alil before proceeding onwards to camps or urban locations. Most of the displaced families choose to be transferred to east Mosul, where they either join relatives, rent accommodation, or occupy empty buildings. IDPs interviewed by UNHCR’s partner reported that the volatile security situation in west Mosul and the lack of services, including potable water, pushed them to leave the city. According to the government, 297,000 persons have been displaced from west Mosul since military operations to retake the west bank of the city began on 19 February.
Thousands of IDPs are leaving camps to return to east Mosul. An estimated 11,000 IDPs returned to their places of origin this week1, a two-fold increase compared to the previous week. The majority, about 7,600, left camps east and northeast of Mosul. Among the returnees, some IDPs originally from west Mosul decided to settle in east Mosul waiting for their places of origin to become accessible. Families interviewed by UNHCR teams perceived the security situation in east Mosul as stable, according to information shared by their relatives. In camps northeast of Mosul, returnees mentioned the severe movement restrictions in place in camps as a key factor in their decision to leave the camps. In camps east of Mosul, families who returned mentioned that they wanted to reunite with relatives, resume work, and avoid difficult living conditions in tents as the weather becomes hotter.
Over 1,140 housing sites reportedly destroyed in Mosul, mostly in west Mosul. Using satellite imagery and information from local researches, the most recent assessment from UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, confirms extensive damage to infrastructure, public facilities, and private buildings. West Mosul is severely impacted, with damage to residential buildings assessed two and a half times greater in west Mosul than in east Mosul. Only severely damaged and completely destroyed buildings can be identified with satellite imagery: the amount of damaged buildings is likely significantly higher on the ground.
All new arrivals to Hammam Al-Alil 2 camp are enrolled using a new digital system, ASSIST. The new assistance, information, and services tracking system will accelerate referrals and be used to coordinate among humanitarian actors providing assistance in the camp. The first 3,600 IDPs from west Mosul were received in Hammam Al-Alil 2 camp between 12 and 13 April. Each family was allocated a tent and received essential household items, such as blankets, water and kerosene jerry cans, kitchen sets, cooking stoves, solar lamps, and hygiene kits. Construction for the camp extension is underway. Once completed, the camp will have capacity for about 28,000 IDPs.
About 240 IDPs fleeing Hawiga have been stranded at checkpoints for over a week. Over 93,000 individuals are displaced from Hawiga3, the last district in Kirkuk Governorate still under armed groups’ control. An estimated 43,000 of them (46%) are sheltered within the Governorate. Some checkpoints in Kirkuk have recently denied passage to IDPs from Hawiga, as they tried to reach safety in other districts of the governorate. Near Maktab Khalid checkpoint, 138 individuals are currently living in destroyed buildings a few kilometres away from the checkpoint. An estimated 100 IDPs are stranded near Daquq check point while awaiting approval from the Governor’s office to proceed. The families are receiving some food assistance from the local population and humanitarian partners. UNHCR is advocating with all relevant authorities for all the displaced families to access safety and assistance.
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.