Iraq

IOM Provides Shelter to Recent Returnees in Iraq

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Iraq - IOM Iraq distributed 500 tents this week to recently returned residents of Al Alam town in Tikrit District, Salah Al-Din Governorate. Al Alam residents fled in June-September 2014 when armed groups occupied their area. Most of their homes were burned down or damaged by shelling.

After spending recent months in other governorates including Kirkuk, Dohuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, residents began to return in late March after armed groups left the Al Alam area.

The most vulnerable residents whose homes were completely destroyed were prioritized to receive tents. IOM Rapid Assessment and Response Team (RART) members conducted the distribution and instructed beneficiaries in tent assembly. Local community members volunteered to facilitate the distribution and helped their neighbors to erect the tents.

The distribution was conducted in response to a request from local authorities for 500 tents for recent returnees who are struggling to rebuild their lives and homes amidst their destroyed town. Local authorities have requested additional tents for Al Alam and surrounding villages. The returnees also requested non-food item kits, medical services and financial assistance. Funding for the tents was provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

IOM Iraq has distributed 6,415 tents since August 2014 across 11 governorates in response to the recent crisis. IOM also distributed some 600 tents in Kirkuk this week to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in two villages; the majority to newly arrived IDPs and recent returnees to Kirkuk.

According to IOM’s most recent Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), a total of 16,519 families (99,114 individuals) were reported to have returned to their area of residence across five governorates during the March 26 to 9 April period. Of this population, 41 per cent were identified in Diyala, 27 per cent in Salah Al-Din, 25 per cent in Ninewa, 6 per cent in Anbar, and 1 per cent in Kirkuk.

IOM tent recipient Mohammed Ali Mohammed Khalid in Al Alam spoke with IOM staff. “I spent my childhood in our house in Al Alam. I was very happy until ISIL occupied my town and targeted our family. They burned our house and we fled to Erbil. The event left a profound negative impact on my family because we lost everything, especially on my mother, who cannot look at her burned house. On our return to Al Alam, IOM gave us a nice tent, which we installed in the garden of my home. This tent gives us reason to continue our life and start again. It is just a tent, but it strengthens us until we can reconstruct our home.”

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “IOM is pleased to assist these recent returnees through shelter provision. We recognize their determination to return to their areas of origin and begin rebuilding their communities, despite the difficult conditions created by the current conflict. IOM will continue to support the most vulnerable displaced persons, in cooperation with the Government of Iraq and humanitarian partners, through emergency assistance and livelihoods support.”

Recent returns are contrasted against new mass displacement that has resulted from conflict in Ramadi, Anbar Governorate, since clashes between Iraqi Security Forces and ISIL intensified in mid-April. IOM Iraq’s DTM latest assessed numbers suggest that close to 100,000 people have been displaced from Anbar since 15 April. The majority of the displaced, more than 10,000 families, have fled to Baghdad Governorate. The new arrivals join over 350,000 IDPs already in Baghdad Governorate displaced since January 2014.

IOM emergency relief distribution in response to Anbar displacement from 16-23 April in Baghdad Governorate has already included 100 tents and 500 family non-food item kits; 150 of which were distributed in cooperation with UNICEF and WFP.

IOM Iraq’s most recent DTM identified 2,674,080 Iraqis (445,680 families) internally displaced country-wide from January 2014 through 9 April 2015. The most recent IOM Iraq DTM dataset, Dashboards, and Dynamic Displacement Map, in addition to previous DTM products, can be found at: http://iomiraq.net/dtm-page

For further information, please contact Sandra Black at IOM Iraq, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email: sblack@iom.int

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