An estimated 1.7 million people have been displaced in Iraq following the presence of Armed Opposition Groups (AOGs) in northern and central parts of the country since the start of 2014, with displacements peaking in June and August of 2014. Roughly 800,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are reported to have arrived or passed through the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) since June 2014,2 with hundreds of thousands remaining in Ninewa Governorate, or fleeing through the KRI towards the south of Iraq.
As a result of this mass displacement, and in addition to approximately 210,000 Syrian refugees currently residing in the KRI, the availability of housing to host the displaced population has become drastically limited, and the cost of accommodation has significantly increased. This has led some IDPs to living in collective shelters or in the open air, which poses serious implications for their access to basic services and other vulnerabilities related to poor living conditions.
In this context, the Shelter and Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) clusters jointly mobilised the REACH initiative to assess the immediate needs of IDPs in northern Iraq (where direct household data collection was possible), with a particular focus on shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI) for winterization programming. Using secondary data, it was identified that a majority of IDPs are hosted by friends or family or living in rented accommodation (60 per cent).
With a minority having access to regular employment and general uncertainty regarding the sustainability of economic resources, financial constraints may cause secondary displacements to find alternative shelter solutions.
Over a third of assessed IDPs were staying in collective shelters (24 per cent), in tents (3 per cent) and in unfinished buildings or open air spaces (11 per cent), making them the most vulnerable group in need of urgent support.
Few IDPs are prepared for the upcoming winter, with widespread lack of access to heating system and the average number of carpets, blankets and winter sets per child falling below the minimum NFI standards. IDP households who do have access to a heating system rely primarily on electricity which is not or little available the open air, camps or collective shelters where they may be settled. Preparing for winter is clearly a concern, with the most commonly reported long-term priorities by IDPs being winter clothing and winterised shelter.
External assistance is widespread. A majority of IDPs who do not have access to a regular income rely on charitable donations to meet their basic needs. Food and rent were the top two primary sources of expenditure, which likely has an impact on capital available to cover the cost of adequate housing. Overall, adequate access to water for drinking and other uses was reported but it depends primarily on a pipeline network, which may increase the risk of contamination. Access to toilets and showers was also common among the assessed population though usually through communal rather private services. This reflects the fact that most IDPs are living in shared accommodation arrangements rather than their own space.
Assessment findings will directly inform the Humanitarian Needs Overview due to be released early September 2014, in addition to the subsequent inter-agency Strategic Response Plan and general humanitarian programming for the current internal displacement crisis in Iraq. A follow-up key informant assessment will be conducted throughout the central and southern belts where direct data collection is not possible due to access constraints related to the current security situation.
- International Organization for Migration
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