Iraq: Population Movement - Information Bulletin n° 1

Situation Report
Originally published
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This bulletin is being issued for information only, and reflects the current situation and details available at this time.

The situation The humanitarian crisis in Iraq is escalating; hundreds of thousands of people are being displaced from their homes, with little hope for a decent life, future and protection. Since fighting between Iraqi security forces and armed groups began, around 3.4 million people have become internally displaced and 10 million people require some form of humanitarian assistance and protection.

The humanitarian situation in Al-Anbar governorate, particularly in and around Fallujah, is acute following the displacement of more than 85,000 people in recent weeks. Further north, an additional 24,000 people are estimated to have been recently displaced from Nineveh, Saladin and Kirkuk.

In and around Nineveh governorate, Iraqi security forces have continued an offensive to retake territory which in recent days has resulted in the displacement of thousands of people both within and into Saladin and Kirkuk governorates. More than 8,400 people have been displaced from the town of Shirqat and surrounding areas alone. Due to the rapid movement of people, the total number who have been displaced may in fact be much higher. It is currently estimated that around 200,000 civilians remain in the Shirqat city, which is under the control of non-state armed groups. Displaced families and individuals are in dire need of safety, shelter, water, food and health care.

In Al-Anbar, the military operations which began on 23 May has now largely come to an end, though fighting is continuing into the north and western parts of the province. Most of those who have been displaced by the fighting are now staying camps (formal and informal) and temporary sites, particularly at towns of Ameriyat al Fallujah, Khalidiyah and Habbaniyah. The camps are already overcrowded resulting in many families having no choice but to stay on the fringes these sites without adequate shelter from the harsh Iraqi summer weather. Authorities expect returns to begin by August, however damage to infrastructure has been severe. There are also serious concerns that unexploded ordinance and explosives (UXO) left in Fallujah during the fighting will pose an ongoing threat to people’s lives and livelihoods for many months to come. Due to these factors, it is sustainable return of the displaced population to the city will likely take a long time. As such, essential support will likely be required on a continuous basis for months, and as basic facilities and livelihood opportunities in and outside the camps will remain limited.

As Iraqi security forces continue to advance against armed groups both in Al-Anbar as well as Nineveh governorates, additional, large-scale population displacement is anticipated over the coming months in and around both Al-Anbar and Nineveh provinces.