• Closure of AAF Camp
• Diyala Unrest and Displacement
• Gaps in 2021 Humanitarian Response
• Launch of the Global Humanitarian Overview
• IHF 1st Reserve Allocation
Closure of Ameriyat Al Fallujah IDP Camp
On 10 November 2021, one of the remaining two formal camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in federal Iraq—the Ameriyat AlFalluja (AAF) camp in Al-Anbar was closed and reclassified by the Government of Iraq (GoI) into an informal settlement. The Government has repeatedly stated its intention to close all camps and assist IDPs return to their areas of origin or re-settle elsewhere. 1 AAF housed 2,173 IDPs (approximately 470 households), mostly from within Al-Anbar, as well as Babil, Baghdad and Salah Al-Din governorates. Reclassification of the camp as an informal site has meant that services previously provided by the government have been suspended, such as distribution of food and non-food items, and kerosene for winter heating. Humanitarian actors operating in the camp are assessing current needs and reviewing the resources available to continue assistance.
Many of the families remaining in AAF have particular challenges which make returns complicated. Approximately 50 families are originally from Jurf Al-Sakhar in Babil governorate, an area which has been blocked for returns by armed actors since the end of the conflict against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Another 120 families have thus far been unable to obtain the necessary clearances from authorities to return to their areas of origin, for reasons including tribal disputes and perceived affiliations to extremists.
Since the camp’s closure, departures have been minimal; protection actors note that they have not observed any coercive or forceful tactics to compel return. On 1 December 2021, cash grants were announced by the Governor of Al-Anbar, the Minister for Migration and Displacement, and the Sunni Endowment2 to incentivize camp departures and returns to areas of origin; however, in practice, IDPs who receive cash assistance are not obligated to leave the now-closed camp and thus far are able to remain on site. Nevertheless, some families have elected to leave, provided they are able to take their tents.
In addition to AAF’s former residents, an estimated 15,000 out-of-camp IDPs inhabit informal sites near AAF in conditions of significant deprivation; these families are largely unserved by humanitarian actors, as are vulnerable host families living in the region. Many of these families previously lived in other now-closed IDP camps in Al-Anbar and have been unable or unwilling to return to areas of origin, due to destroyed shelters or social cohesion concerns.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.