From 31 December 2017 to 31 January 2018:
• As of 31 January 2018, the DTM has identified 2,470,974 internally displaced persons (411,829 families) displaced after January 2014, dispersed across 97 districts and 3,702 locations in Iraq. For the same period, DTM has also identified 3,346,704 returnees (557,784 families).
• Overall, the total number of identified IDPs decreased by approximately 6% (145,014 individuals). Decreases were recorded across all of Iraq’s 18 governorates.
• The returnee population increased by 4% (126,342 individuals) during the month of January, reflecting a continuous trend of increasing return movements observed in Iraq.
Considering the available information and the DTM methodology, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) has revised the planning figures for the humanitarian response at 2.5 million internally displaced persons and 3.3 million returnees.
Since December’s milestone, when DTM recorded more returnees than IDPs for the first time in the current Iraq conflict, return movements have continued across the country. Returnees are now 3.3 million while IDPs have dropped to 2.5 million individuals.
A total of 98% of the 126,342 new returnees identified by DTM during this monitoring period were concentrated in four governorates:
Ninewa, Salah al-Din, Kirkuk and Anbar. Ninewa Governorate alone accounts for two-thirds (83,814) of the newly identified returnees, of who 53,514 went back to Mosul district. However, reports from the field indicate that not all returnees to Mosul city are staying, with approximately 600 families returning to displacement in Haj Ali camp due to lack of services and livelihood opportunities in west Mosul city. DTM is continuing to conduct a joint validation exercise with local authorities in east and west Mosul to confirm returnee numbers, with an increase in the figures expected next month once new data is received for east Mosul.
In Salah al-Din, where a total of 27,276 new returnees were identified across the governorate, many headed back to the retaken Al-Shirqat district (6,420 individuals) and Baiji districts (6,576). While return movements from the disputed areas crisis have largely slowed overall, the exception was the return of 13,920 people to the Salah al-Din district of Tooz as per the Emergency Tracking of 29 January 2018. This return movement was prompted by improvements in the security situation in this area.
In Kirkuk, approximately 7,044 new returnees were identified, 6,780 of them to the retaken district of Hawija as security and services improve. A number of areas in Markaz Hawija sub-district reportedly have not yet been cleared for return by the ISF. In Anbar, most of the governorate’s 5,982 returnees identified during January 2018 are in the recently retaken districts of west Anbar: Al-Ka’im (3,852 returnees), Ana (576) and Ru’a (576). Return movements to Ru’a were lower as of the end of January; DTM Emergency Tracking indicates that approximately 12,000 of those displaced during last year’s offensive against ISIL in west Anbar have returned, but about 60,000 remain displaced.
During January 2018, the three governorates reporting the biggest decreases in IDP numbers were Ninewa (-48,540 individuals or -6%), Baghdad (-22,806 or -12%) and Anbar (-18,864 or -17%).
Together, they account for almost two-thirds of the nationwide decrease of 145,014 IDPs (or -6%). In addition to improving security and services in their locations of origin, government policies to encourage return movements from Baghdad city and from camps in Anbar contributed to this decrease in IDP numbers