Displacement slows in 2007, but conditions deteriorate for 2.4 million internally displaced Iraqis. Despite decreased violence, slowing displacement rates, and limited returns in 2007, population displacement within and from Iraq remains one of the largest and most serious humanitarian crises in the world. Over two million Iraqis are refugees, most of them in neighboring Syria and Jordan. An additional 2.4 million Iraqis are Internally Displaced People (IDPs) within their own country.
Iraq has a long history of displacement due to wars and the policies of the former regime. Many IDP populations from the 1980s and 90s still remain in displacement. Following the 2003 conflict, an estimated 400,000 (1) Iraqis were internally displaced due to military operations and general insecurity.
On 22 February 2006, the bombing of the Al-Askari Mosque in Samarra triggered escalating sectarian violence that drastically changed the cause and scale of displacement. Although military operations, crime, and general insecurity remained factors, sectarian violence became the primary driver for population displacement. Since February 2006, almost 1,204,000 (2) Iraqis have been displaced. Of these, IOM's assessments cover 142,000 families throughout Iraq (an estimated 852,000 individuals).(3)
(1) This figure includes 200,000 displaced by military operations in Fallujah during November 2004. Most of these IDPs have since returned.
(2) As per the 24 December 2007 MoDM report, "Summary Results IDP Registration - February 2006 To December 2007" and the 21 November 2007 Cluster F Update on Internally Displaced Persons in Iraq.
(3) For information on IOM's monitoring methodology, see "IOM Monitoring Needs Assessments Methodology" available at www.iomiraq.net/library.html#IDP