Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 16 February 2017

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 16 Feb 2017

KEY FIGURES

160,302
persons currently internally displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since military operations to retake the city resumed on 17 October 2016

20,755
UNHCR kits of core relief items (CRIs) distributed to families in camps, assisting some 124,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Mosul and surrounding areas

5,457
family plots are currently occupied out of 11,497 family plots (for some 60,000 people) in UNHCR built camps that are ready to receive IDPs displaced from Mosul corridor.

3 million
IDPs since January 2014

246,649
Iraqi refugees hosted by neighbouring countries in the region, and

12,139
Iraqis received in Al Hol camp in Syria since 17 October 2016

POPULATION MOVEMENTS

Mosul: Camps around Mosul continue to report new arrivals in parallel with departures, resulting in a 5% overall increase in the number of IDPs currently displaced, as compared to last week. At 16 February, 36,294 families (about 217,000 persons) have been displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas1, while 9,577 families (about 57,000 persons) have returned to their places of origin. This leaves around 160,300 persons currently displaced due to the fighting around Mosul since 17 October 2016. In IDP camps north and northeast of Mosul, new arrivals interviewed by UNHCR protection teams this week originated mainly from east Mosul city. They cited insecurity in their places of origin, along with problems accessing food, water, and health services, as their main reasons for leaving.

Returns: Returns from Qaymawa camp resumed on 14 February after a pause of four days. According to camp management, about 720 families have registered to return to their areas of origin, which are mainly in Mosul city and Telkaif, north of Mosul. Of this number, 295 families have left the camp since 8 February, including 43 families on 14 February. Families displaced from east Mosul city to Qaymawa, Khazer and Hasansham camps continued to register to return to their areas of origin over the last week, despite a number of security incidents reported in east Mosul city.

SITUATION UPDATE

Security remains fragile for civilians in east Mosul. Indirect fire, improvised explosive devices and unmanned aerial vehicle attacks continue to raise the level of insecurity for civilians living in areas retaken by the Iraqi forces in Mosul, particularly those in close proximity to the Tigris River. On 15 February, five neighbourhoods in east Mosul were impacted by indirect fire attacks throughout the day, which reportedly resulted in civilian casualties. About 50 indirect fire incidents were reported over the past week in eastern Mosul, a 25% increase over the previous week.

Preparations to retake west Mosul move ahead as the conflict continues on other fronts. As Iraqi forces prepare to retake the western half of Mosul, military operations are presently ongoing in the western part of the country in Anbar Governorate and the east in Hawiga, Kirkuk Governorate. On 14 February, during his weekly press conference, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed the continuation of military operations across Iraq, stating that “the priority now is to liberate the Iraqi territories.”

UNHCR RESPONSE UPDATE

UNHCR carries out protection assessments in east Mosul. Between 26 January and 9 February, UNHCR and its protection partner carried out a series of assessments in nine neighbourhoods in east Mosul city. The main protection concerns identified included arbitrary arrest and detention, deprivation of property rights, missing civil documentation, and restrictions on freedom of movement. In many cases, unsupported accusations of affiliation with extremist groups triggered arrests, eviction, or prevention of return. Gaps in availability of food, water, electricity, and sanitation were also observed. UNHCR will continue to base its advocacy and assistance on identified protection gaps, with a view to assisting IDPs in displacement and reinforcing the sustainability of return.