Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 14 March 2017

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 14 Mar 2017

Key Figures

  • 224,298 Iraqis currently internally displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since military operations to retake the city began on 17 October 2016
  • 30,360 core relief item (CRIs) kits distributed to families in camps, assisting some 182,000 IDPs from Mosul and surrounding areas
  • 7,430 family plots currently occupied out of 12,497 family plots (for some 75,000 people) in UNHCR built camps ready to receive IDPs displaced from the Mosul corridor
  • 3 million IDPs since January 2014
  • 250,952 Iraqi refugees hosted in countries in the region, and 14,486 Iraqis received in Al Hol camp in Syria since 17 October 2016

Funding

USD 578 million requested for IDPs and Iraqi refugees in the region in 2017.

Population Movements

Over 224,298 persons are still internally displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since the military operations began on 17 October 2016.

Operations to retake west Mosul began on 19 February and significant population movements started on 25 February, with around 5,000 persons received in camps daily.

In the first four months of the operations, internally displaced persons (IDPs) were almost exclusively transferred to camps, where they faced severe movement restrictions. Close to 70,000 Iraqis displaced from Mosul since 17 October returned to their places of origin mostly in order to resume work and education, which was not possible while in camps.

In a new development, large numbers of IDPs from west Mosul are now allowed to stay in the host community. Most move to east Mosul, where they have relatives. The Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MoMD) reports that at least 89,000 IDPs have fled west Mosul since 19 February. About two thirds (60,000) are sheltered in camps while a growing number is reportedly sheltered in the host community.

Situation Update

Three weeks into the military campaign to retake west Mosul, Iraqi security forces (ISF) control close to half of west Mosul’s 45 neighbourhoods. ISF is now moving deep into west Mosul, surrounding Old Mosul city on three sides.

Over 80% of Mosul’s infrastructure is destroyed, according to government officials. While the Iraqi government has already approved 27 United Nations projects for the reconstruction of Mosul’s retaken areas, Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari warned that Iraq would need a project similar to the Marshall Plan (launched to rebuild Europe after World War II), in order to recover from the conflict in the country.

Response Update

IDPs continue to be transferred to camps south of Mosul which are full. Although camps east and northeast of Mosul are ready to receive up to 27,400 IDPs (tented plots, services already deployed), ISF continues to transfer IDPs to camps where there is no available space. So far, about 1,100 families, or 6,000 IDPs, are sheltered in substandard conditions in camps south of Mosul. Humanitarian advocacy with ISF to discontinue such transfers is happening at all levels of the response.

Up to 15,000 IDPs arrive to Hammam Al-Alil screening site daily. An additional influx is foreseen and UNHCR is working round the clock to double the existing shelter capacity of the site to 4,000 persons, for IDPs who need to overnight.

Humanitarian actors raise concerns as IDPs are not provided with adequate information after going through screening. Once security cleared, IDPs are given the choice to go to camps or onwards, in the host community. Transportation is provided by the government. Some IDPs report not being aware of which camps have space, or their location. Families are seen grabbing in a hurry the few belongings they have, as bus drivers shout the name of the destination they are heading to. Humanitarian partners are closely working with authorities in order to disseminate timely information for IDPs to make informed decisions.

Protection partners are present at the site daily. They identify vulnerable IDPs, including separated families and unaccompanied children. An emergency referral pathway has been developed for the transit site, and ICRC has been asked to maintain a regular presence onsite for family tracing.

UNHCR needs USD 212 million in 2017, to continue providing urgent assistance to Iraqis displaced from Mosul, including USD 7 million in the next 14 days and an additional USD 30 million in the next two months – total USD 37 million.