Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 19 July 2017

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 19 Jul 2017

Situation Update

The security situation remains volatile in areas retaken from extremist groups in and around Mosul, resulting in displacement or secondary displacement of populations. Extremist groups continue to attack retaken areas in Ninewa Governorate, jeopardizing the safety of the population and affecting the sustainability of returns. Minor clashes and some airstrikes are reported daily in a few neighbourhoods of Mosul Old City, while sporadic fighting along with airstrikes continues to be reported south of Mosul district, in Imam Gharbi village. The village was retaken by extremist groups two weeks ago, resulting in the flight of an estimated 300 families, a number of them returnees, towards Shirqat, about 25 kilometres south, in Salah al-Din Governorate.

Iraq Government encourages returns to Mosul while acknowledging the lack of security and basic services in some areas of the city. On 16 July, a ceremony was organized by the Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MoMD) in Khazer M1 camp, east of Mosul. The event aimed at informing and encouraging internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return to Mosul. The MoMD representative stated during the ceremony that although it is the authorities’ intention to see all displaced families return from the camps to their places of origin by the end of the year, the lack of basic services and a volatile security situation in some areas remained to be addressed before all displaced families could actually return. UNHCR interviewed some IDPs who attended. They indicated that their property was destroyed and their savings depleted, and this prevented them from considering returning home until basic services and a semblance of economic activity is restored to their neighbourhoods. MoMD does not have plans to provide assistance to returnees at the moment, according to the Ministry’s spokesperson. About 70,000 individuals are currently sheltered in five camps near the town of Khazer.

Population Movements

The Iraqi Government reportedly closed its main mustering point in east Mosul, near Ninewa Hotel on 17 July, citing the completion of the military operations aimed at retaking the city. A small number of families, from Hawiga and Tel Afar continue to arrive daily in Hammam Al-Alil screening site, 20 kilometres south of Mosul. They then move onward to camps nearby or east of Mosul.

Response Update

Authorities close Bartella site, east of Mosul, on 17 July. The site, which lacked basic services including adequate sanitation and drinking water, was opened for a week, and sheltered up to 900 IDPs perceived by the authorities to be affiliated with extremist groups. Between 14 and 16 July, 84 families were reportedly allowed to leave the camp after securing a sponsor in the area, or move onwards to Hammam Al-Alil 1 camp after receiving security clearance in Bartella site. When authorities closed the camp: 77 families were transferred to Jad’ah 5 and 6 camps, 60 kilometres south of Mosul, while the remaining 81 families moved onwards to east Mosul, after securing a sponsor. Between 9 and 17 July, up to 80 cases of unaccompanied or separated children (UASC) were noted by protection actors in Bartella site. Child protection actors identified temporary foster families, usually with families that originated from the same neighbourhood. UNHCR and child protection partners closely coordinated between Bartella and Jad’ah to ensure adequate follow up relating to the children.

Of UNHCR’s overall funding requirements of USD 212 million in 2017 to provide protection, shelter and camp coordination and camp management assistance to IDPs in Mosul, USD 126 million are urgently required to meet critical needs of vulnerable children, women and men displaced from and returning to Mosul.