Iraq has endured a displacement crisis since 2014, as a result of clashes between the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) of the Iraqi government. Four major waves of mass displacement have occurred alongside multiple smaller cases since 2014, including displacement resulting from the Mosul military operation beginning October 2016. As of March 2018, 2.27 million people remain internally displaced,including over 580,000 residing in formal camp settings. January 2018 marked the first time since the crisis began where the number of people that have returned to their area of origin exceeded the number who remain displaced. The shifting context has led to a new phase in the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster national strategy, as increasing returns signal the need to consolidate and phase out the operation of formal IDP camps over time. To guide the phase-out process, camps with relatively poorer services and infrastructure will be targeted first for closure, with residents given the option to move to camps that will remain open in the longer term.
In order to inform effective planning processes regarding camp consolidation, and to monitor the needs of IDP households continuing to reside in formal camps, REACH and the CCCM Cluster in Iraq conducted a nationwide multi-sector camp profiling assessment between 12 December 2017 and 14 January 2018. This assessment was the ninth round of camp profiling conducted jointly by REACH and CCCM, in which 5,591 household-level interviews were conducted across 61 formal IDP camps in 11 governorates of Iraq.3 This report analyses and compares camp profiling data captured during previous assessment rounds with the latest data from Camp Directory Round 9; providing a longitudinal and geographical comparative analysis of the situation in formal camps at the governorate level.
One of the main findings of this assessment was that remaining in-camp IDP households were increasingly reliant on humanitarian and government aid to meet their short-term food and household needs, with this proportion rising from 10% (humanitarian aid) and 1% (government aid) in May 2017, to 43% and 33% respectively by January 2018. This heavy reliance on aid was further illustrated by almost half of households reporting that assistance from UN agencies or international organisations was one of their main food sources and by 76% of households that reported food as a top priority need.
Although the proportion of IDP households in camps with no access at all to a livelihoods source, had dropped from 32% to 10% between May 2017 and January 2018, the simultaneous increase in reliance on aid as a source witnessed during the same period, indicates a lack of access to more sustainable sources. Indeed, 47% of the 87% of in-camp households that reported information needs, stated employment opportunities as a top-three information need. Lack of access to sustainable sources was further highlighted by 77% of households resorting to livelihood coping strategies, such as selling assistance, taking on debt, and spending savings. Furthermore, this assessment found that IDPs remaining in camps, had shifted from selling assistance and spending savings towards taking on debt to meet their needs, indicating exhausted resources.
Another key finding was the increase in the number of female-headed households from 10% in round 8, to 15% in round 9. Female-headed household are 63% more likely to be widowed and have a greater tendency to rely on less stable livelihood sources, with 26% of female-headed households reliant on gifts, in comparison to 13% of men. Similarly the average the average income from wages per month was 169,319 IQD (142 USD) for female-headed households compared to 222,723 IQD (187 USD) for male-headed households.
Finally, the assessment found an increase in the number of children between 6 and 11 years old attending formal education to 54% in round 8 to 74% in round 9. This is a return to the same level of enrolment seen in round 7 (74%, December 2016-January 2017). It is suggested that this oscillating trend is explained by an improvement in formal education services at Mosul emergency camps, where previously a low number of children had access to formal education due to their recent formation at the time of round 8 (April-May 2017) data collection.
Another positive finding included an increase in the number of households reporting relative freedom of movement to temporarily enter and exit the camps in order to access markets of livelihood opportunities (round 9 96%, round 8 85%).
As the camp phase-out process begins, it is important that camp consolidations and closures do not diminish the social, economic and security situations of the households who remain displaced in informal IDP camps.