The Government of Iraq releases 50 billion IQD (US$43 million) to assist with the IDP response in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
The Immediate Response Plan for the IDPs Crisis in the KR-I was released this week. A similar plan for the whole of Iraq is under discussion with the Government of Iraq.
Humanitarian access in many parts of western and central Iraq is severely constrained, affecting the ability of partners to deliver humanitarian assistance.
Partners have started preparations for winter, but resources available are insufficient to cater for needs. Availability of fuel at subsidized prices for IDPs and refugees is a major concern.
Following intense consultation between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the UN, the Immediate Response Plan (IRP) for the IDPs Crisis in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I) was released. The document, which is a subset of the Strategic Response Plan, identifies the most urgent needs of some 860,000 IDPs in the region until the onset of the winter season, in mid-November. Priority targets for this plan include the most vulnerable IDPs, including those in the open air, schools and in unfinished buildings. Shelter, WASH, health, food and education sectors have been prioritized in the plan, which analyses needs, available resources and financial gaps.
The plan highlights that urgent shelter solutions need to be found for 390,000 IDPs, but resources available are sufficient only for 224,000 people leaving a deficit of about 146,000 without shelter. The relocation of IDPs from schools to alternate shelter remains a priority. Winterisation items are available only for half of the IDPs caseload targeted by the plan, while gaps in health and food-related interventions would substantially decrease should the Public Distribution System and dispatch of drugs from the central pharmacy be resumed. The recent transfer of 50 billion IQD (US$43 million) by the Government of Iraq this week for assistance to the IDPs in the KR-I will contribute to address the needs. It is understood that additional funding will be transferred shortly.
The third in a series of meetings between the Deputy Prime Ministers office and the UN in Baghdad discussed urgent interventions to assist vulnerable IDPs across Iraq. Participants agreed on the need to elaborate an operational plan to identify the needs of IDPs across Iraq for shelter, food, health, water and sanitation, and the education sectors by end November, which will be elaborated under the Government’s leadership, and will be the result of discussion between technical ministries and specialised agencies/cluster leads. During the meeting the UN stressed that access and insecurity are major obstacles for the provision of humanitarian assistance in some parts of the country and requested Government support to facilitate cross-line operations. In Anbar Governorate alone there are 400,000 IDPs to which humanitarian actors enjoy only very limited access. While the UN and NGO partners are intensifying their efforts to reach those in need, assistance falls far short of what is required.
Partners have started preparations for winter, which is fast approaching. In KR-I - where temperatures during winter can range between +5 C and -16 C - some 80,000 internally displaced families are now in urgent need of winter aid including blankets, kerosene, heating stoves, jerry cans and insulation items, such as thermal floor mats and polystyrene boards to make tents in camps warmer and more resistant to winter conditions. Funds available, however, will cover only half of the identified needs. Advocacy is ongoing to ensure that subsidies for kerosene for cooking and heating are guaranteed for IDPs and refugees, something that will have a very positive impact as currently resources available are sufficient only to cover fuel needs for 4,700 Syrian refugee families and 30,000 vulnerable families in the KR-I for 2 months.
Across Iraq, the situation remains fluid as the IDP population remains widely dispersed, mobile and in great need.
According to the IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix 28 September update, since the last report additional displacement has been recorded within Kirkuk Governorate (over 4,800 families) following security incidents in Hawiga and because of difficult living conditions in unfinished buildings within Kirkuk city. In addition, restrictive policies at different checkpoints in Kirkuk Governorate are affecting the freedom of movement of those who are not from the governorate. Another 3,717 displaced families from Ninewa fled to Tilkaif, north of Mosul, Zahko, Dohuk Governorate districts and Erbil city, as well as Babylon (623), Baghdad (227), Najaf (146), Missan (89) and Thi Qar (129). In Anbar Governorate reports indicate displacement within Falluja town and al-Amiriyah district (950 families) despite the fact that military operations are restricting movement of civilians.
Displacement in Baghdad continues as families flee from one neighborhood to settle in another. Further displacement from Babylon towards the capital city has been observed as military operations between Iraq Security Forces (ISF) and armed groups continue in the north of the governorate. In addition, in the KR-I, some 4,100 families from Samarra, in Salah al-Din Governorate, left Erbil city because of poor living conditions and high costs of rent, which they cannot afford anymore. Of these, 200 families have returned to their place of origin in the districts of Baiji and Sherqat and another 280 moved to Soran district in Erbil Governorate and others are assumed to be in transit. Humanitarian partners are concerned about a potential fresh wave of displacement, beyond the millions already displaced. Should this happen, the aid community’s capacity to respond will be further stretched.
A recent assessment in the governorates of Kerbala and Najaf is raising concerns of evictions of IDPs sheltering in mosques and pilgrim guesthouses ahead of the religious festivals commemorating the death of Imam Hussein. The Ashura pilgrimage begins in late October and attracts between 3 -12 million pilgrims. Najaf religious and civilian authorities have assured partners no evictions of IDPs is contemplated during the pilgrimage.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.