• IASC Principals declare a Level 3 emergency
• Over 55,000 IDPs are reported to have crossed into Syria from Sinjar District, including many who were trapped on Sinjar Mountain. Most made their way back into Iraq through the Pesh Khabour checkpoint (KRG)
• Schools used as shelter by either IDPs or military may not reopen on 10 September as scheduled, affecting over 850,000 children
• A polio immunization campaign concludes with nearly 4 million children vaccinated throughout 13 Governorates.
On 12 August, in the context of the gravity of the humanitarian crisis throughout Iraq, the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Principals declared a “level 3” emergency. This measure is only applied for exceptional circumstances and will support a more effective response to the humanitarian needs of affected populations. The declaration sets up adequate capacity and tools for enhanced leadership and coordination of the humanitarian system.
While numbers could not be independently verified, thousands of families, many of them women, children and the elderly, remain trapped on Sinjar Mountain from 9 to 12 August, and were for the most part sustained through air drops. It is reported that 55,000 people from Sinjar District (Ninewa) reportedly crossed into Syria, including the majority of displaced people on Sinjar Mountain. Most thereafter made their way back into Iraq at the Pesh Khabour crossing point in the Kurdistan Region. Unconfirmed reports indicate that there are 10,000 Iraqi refugees in Nawroz and Hakamiya in Syria.
Displaced people remain on the move throughout Iraq. The size and pace of the crisis has overwhelmed local communities, particularly in Dahuk Governorate (over 400,000 IDPs reported). The town of Zahko (population of 350,000) is hosting 100,000 displaced people. There are four IDP camp sites under construction in Dahuk: Zakho, Shariya, Khanke, and the extension of the pre-existing Bajet Kandala reception centre.
Following clashes between Peshmerga and ISIS forces, there are reports of secondary displacements from the Kurdish Region to southern governorates. Khazir transit centre (Erbil) and Garmawa camp (Ninewa) are now reported empty. There are also indications of concentrations of people at checkpoints to enter the Kurdish region.
Displacement to the southern areas of the country is increasing, as thousands of families from Ninewa are moving towards Najaf, Kerbala, Basrah, Wassit and Missan. Thousands of people are displaced in areas described as Disputed Internal Boundary Areas. Services, trade, energy and transportation are disrupted or destroyed.
As a result of the increased influx of IDPs throughout Iraq and particularly in the Kurdistan Region, shelter is of particular concern. According to IOM’s recent Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) covering July-July 2014, approximately 35% of IDP families are reported to be hosted by relatives and over 36% are living in rented accommodation or hotel arrangements with little to no access to employment. While these families are currently paying for their accommodation, it is of concern that this may not be sustainable and could lead to secondary displacement. Since the beginning of August, over 200,000 IDPs have entered Dahuk Governorate (Kurdistan Region) and are occupying schools, churches, mosques and unfinished buildings.
Schools used as shelter by either IDPs or military may not reopen on 10 September as scheduled, thus affecting over 850,000 children (Syrian refugees, Iraqi IDPs, Kurdish host community children). In the Kurdistan region, half of the 5,746 schools are estimated to be occupied. Over half of the country’s 95,666 teachers are also affected by the displacement.
Access to clean water has also emerged as a critical, life-threatening problem facing numerous conflict-affected areas or those under armed groups control. Power cuts, coupled with a severe shortage of fuel brought on by clashes over the Baiji refinery and disruptions to normal supply routes, and the seizure of municipal water facilities by armed groups has left numerous communities without clean water. On 14 August, it was reported that a water plant in eastern Mosul was partially destroyed by an airstrike, leaving large parts of the city without access to water. Communities hosting IDPs located behind the frontline could be forced to flee because of lack of water in their areas of origin. Emergency interventions, such as water trucking, have begun, but remain limited and insufficient.
Food security is a rapidly growing concern in central and northern Iraq. Normal supply routes have been interrupted by insecurity, limiting the movement of wheat and other produce already stored in Government silos. Food shortages are reportedly already occurring in Mosul. Millions of Iraqis may become severely food insecure later this year if these challenges are not resolved.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.