The surge in violence between armed groups and government forces has resulted in over 2.4 million internally displaced people across Iraq and left hundreds of thousands of people in need of assistance. From the beginning of January 2014 through 12 February 2015, the DTM identified 2,472,444 internally displaced individuals, (412,074 families) dispersed across 2,744 distinct locations in Iraq. There remain three major identified waves of displacement in Iraq since January 2014. These waves of displacement correspond to major conflicts and each wave is conventionally categorized by date: January to May, June to July, and August 2014 to present.
According to the DTM of 12 February, the governorate hosting the largest displaced population is Duhok with 444,198 displaced individuals (18% of total displacement, or 74,033 families) in the four districts of Amedi, Zakho, Sumel, and Duhok, and a further 126,306 individuals (5% or 21,051 families), seeking refuge in the assisted districts of Akre and Al-Shikhan. In total the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) hosts an estimated 971,250 individuals (161,875 families) or 43% of the overall displaced population. Outside of northern Iraq, Anbar hosts the second largest displaced population of 388,596 individuals (18%) followed by Kirkuk with 344,640 individuals (14%).
While many Iraqis have found their way to displacement camps, many are living in schools, mosques, churches and in unfinished buildings. The DTM categorizes shelter arrangements as private settings (63% of the displaced population or 258,172 families), critical shelter arrangements (29% or 113,293 families) and IDP camps (9% or 35,820 families)
Private settings constitute the most common shelter solution for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq; 1,549,032 individuals (63%) are identified within this category. This can be further broken down into populations living in rented housing (55% or 854,460 individuals), in host community arrangements (42% or 653,484 individuals), and in hotels/motels (3% or 41,088). In terms of geographic distribution, 51% of individuals in private settings (or 786,612 individuals) are located in Anbar, Baghdad and Kirkuk, followed by the KRI with 28% (427,440 individuals). While these shelter arrangements should ensure better living standards to the displaced populations, they can entail a considerable burden to the host community as well as place strain on the functioning of basic services.
There are 708,492 individuals housed in critical shelter arrangements: the largest segment of this population remains in Duhok (26% or 181,968 individuals), followed by Anbar (14% or 97,464 individuals) and then Kirkuk (13% or 95,430 individuals). These shelter types are classified as critical since the facilities are either not sustainable or inadequate to provide safe living conditions to the displaced populations. Within this category, unfinished and abandoned buildings remain the shelter types hosting the majority of the population with a reported 386,658 individuals accommodated (16% of the total displaced population).
Just above 210,000 individuals (9% of the total displaced population) are accommodated in camps throughout Iraq. 62% of the population living in camps is located in Duhok, 17% in the districts of Akre and Al-Shikhan, followed by Diyala with 7% (largely in Khanaqin district)
With the growing number of Syrian refugees putting additional strains on local infrastructure and essential services, which were already significantly weakened by the years of war and instability, access to basic services for the Iraqi population itself remains problematic. Stagnant socio-economic development further affects daily life in Iraq, while institutional capacity remains limited. These conditions hamper the ability of internally displaced people to return home.
In response, IFRC launched a Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) of CHF 273,000 for three months (February-May 2014) to support 25,000 people affected by the Anbar Crisis. IRCS responded through its volunteers by moving aid convoys to affected locations and distributed food and relief items to the most vulnerable in collaboration with the local communities.
IFRC deployed a rapid assessment team from 18-25 June June 2014. A consultative meeting on the Iraq appeal was held for all partner national societies (PNS) in Beirut on 26 June 2014. IFRC launched this Emergency appeal of CHF 6.4 million on 30 June 2014 and three FACT rotations were deployed to Kurdistan to support IRCS from July to November 2014. A DREF of CHF 360,000 was released on 14 July 2014 to facilitate immediate response before partners’ support.
Over 150,000 people were reached with food and Non-food Items (NFIs) support through this Appeal.
In September 2014, the IFRC Secretary General and ICRC Director General conducted a joint visit to Iraq Red Crescent Society. This sent a powerful message of Movement solidarity in addressing the needs of the Iraqi displaced population. The visit highlighted the plight of the Iraq IDPs and Syrian refugees as well as motivated staff and volunteers of the IRCS, PNSs, Federation and ICRC to do more and do better.