Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 12 July 2017
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi officially declared “victory” over armed extremist groups in Mosul, and the “full liberation of the city” on the evening of 10 July. The Prime Minister highlighted the need to ensure stability, start reconstruction works, and return displaced persons to their homes. Extremist groups still reportedly control territory in three areas of Iraq – around Hawiga, 130 kilometres south-east of Mosul, around Tel Afar, 65 kilometres west, and in west Anbar, from Ana to Al-Qaim in the Euphrates river valley, 250 kilometres to the south-west. A total of 3.3 million persons are currently internally displaced, following the start of the conflict between the Government and armed extremist groups in Iraq, in 2014.
The United Nations will continue to support the Iraqi Government as it creates conditions for voluntary, safe, and dignified returns of the displaced population and restores the rule of law in areas retaken from extremist groups, United Nations’ Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement, following the Iraqi Government’s declaration that its forces have retaken Mosul. Mr. Guterres said the UN would stand by the Government as it creates conditions to prevent a return to violence and foster accountability for all violations.
Authorities have started to transfer some newly displaced families to recently opened Bartella site, east of Mosul. Between 9 and 11 July, about 2,900 internally displaced persons (IDPs) arrived at east Mosul main screening site near Ninewa Hotel. Most of the IDPs had fled earlier and were going back to west Mosul for go-and-see visits to their houses there. These previously displaced IDPs going back and forth between east and west Mosul are reportedly allowed to proceed to east Mosul after security clearance. IDPs arriving from west Mosul and perceived as newly displaced are reportedly transferred to a new site recently opened by the Iraqi Government near Bartella, east of Mosul.
Humanitarian community concerned about the transfer of vulnerable families to Bartella site, which lacks adequate services, east of Mosul. Between 9 and 11 July, 153 families perceived as newly displaced from the Old City, mostly femaleheaded households, have been transferred to the Bartella site. Some 80 unaccompanied children have been identified by protection partners on site. Lack of services in the camp, including food, drinking water, and medical services, are particularly alarming. UNHCR is advocating with authorities that IDPs needing urgent medical care be transferred to the hospital without delay.
As returns continue to east and some areas of west Mosul, UNHCR is ramping up its support to returnees. Over 35,000 displaced families (an estimated 212,000 individuals) are verified as having returned to their areas of origin in east and west Mosul, where at least 3,435 sites (64 per cent of them houses, according to UN Habitat) have been destroyed or partially destroyed. With returns ongoing to the city,
UNHCR is planning to distribute emergency shelter kits (ESKs) and sealing-off kits (SOKs) to up to 36,000 vulnerable families whose houses were damaged. ESKs and SOKs consist of plastic sheeting, poles, and tools to enable returnees to perform temporary repairs or build a makeshift shelter as they rehabilitate their homes. UNHCR’s partner will start assessments and delivering assistance in east and west Mosul in the coming week.
Of UNHCR’s overall funding requirements of USD 212 million in 2017 to provide protection, shelter and camp coordination and camp management assistance to IDPs in Mosul, USD 126 million are urgently required to meet critical needs of vulnerable children, women and men displaced from and returning to Mosul.