Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 8 March 2017

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 08 Mar 2017

KEY FIGURES

211,572 Iraqis currently internally displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since military operations to retake the city began on 17 October 2016

24,324 core relief item (CRIs) kits distributed to families in camps, assisting some 129,000 IDPs from Mosul and surrounding areas

7,326 family plots currently occupied out of 15,821 family plots (for some 95,000 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 by neighbouring countries in the region, and 14,486 Iraqis received in Al Hol camp in Syria since 17 October 2016

POPULATION MOVEMENTS

Over 275,000 persons have been internally displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since the military operations began on 17 October. An estimated 64,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have returned to their places of origin, leaving 211,000 individuals in displacement.

There has been a steep increase in displacement from west Mosul. Over 43,000 individuals, mostly from west Mosul, were displaced in one week, between 27 February and 5 March. IDPs undergo a last round of security clearance in Hammam Al-Alil before moving onwards to camps or into the host community when sponsored by relatives.

The lack of safe passage for civilians is of grave concern to the humanitarian community. Families displaced from east and west Mosul quote the high level of insecurity as the main reason why they fled their neighbourhoods, along with the lack of access to affordable food, drinkable water and medical services.

SITUATION UPDATE

Iraqi security forces (ISF) have retaken the governor’s building in Mosul. On 7 March, the military announced they had retaken important governmental buildings in west Mosul, including the water department, the police directorate and the court complex. ISF captured Mosul's al-Hurriya (Freedom) Bridge, close to the governmental complex the day before. It is the second of Mosul five bridges over the Tigris River to be retaken by the military.

Suspected chemical attack in Mosul, according to the ICRC. Eighteen patients who arrived from Mosul and are now being treated in an Erbil hospital show “clinical symptoms consistent with an exposure to a blistering chemical agent," according to ICRC. This represents the first reported use of chemical weapons, prohibited under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, since the battle to retake Mosul began on 17 October.

UNHCR RESPONSE UPDATE

UNHCR has assisted over 250,000 individuals in and around Mosul since the military operations began in October 2016. UNHCR has striven to provide timely shelter, protection services, essential household items and camp management services to displaced individuals, returnees and members of the host community. In camps east of Mosul alone, over 20,000 cases of missing documentation have been identified. UNHCR has liaised with partners and consistently advocated with the authorities to ensure families have access to legal services.

UNHCR opened Chamakor camp on 6 March, with space to receive up to 14,400 individuals. Existing camps south and east of the city are full and new arrivals from west Mosul are now being transferred to Chamakor, where 1,221 individuals arrived between 6 and 7 March. All have received a tent and essential household items.

The new reception centre built by UNHCR close to Hammam Al-Alil is open. In the night of 7 March, 13,232 individuals overnighted in UNHCR reception facility in Hammam Al-Alil.
All 13 large tented halls were full and UNHCR is erecting six additional halls today (8 March).
UNHCR’s partner is running three shifts a day to ensure displaced families receive timely assistance as soon as they arrive.

UNHCR continues construction in two camps and has capacity to build more. Despite heavy rains, UNHCR is making significant progress on the construction of a new camp for up to 30,000 IDPs in Hammam Al-Alil and the first 250 families should be received at the camp by the end of the week.

Significant shortages of drinking water continue to be a major humanitarian concern in eastern Mosul city. Civilians in many neighbourhoods in the southern and western parts of western Mosul city also have no access to the public network and are accessing untreated drinking water. The re-establishment of a functioning city-wide water network is a key priority.