Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 13 September 2017

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 13 Sep 2017

Key figures

  • 829,740 Internally displaced Iraqis verified as being currently displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since military operations to retake the city began on 17 October 2016

  • 677,500 IDPs, returnees and members of the host community from Mosul and surrounding areas assisted by UNHCR since 17 October 2016.

  • 362,024 Individuals (76,256 households) impacted by military operations to retake Mosul since October 2016 are currently enrolled in ASSIST, UNHCR’s assistance tracking tool,

  • 3.2 million IDPs since January 2014

  • 257,765 Iraqi refugees hosted in countries in the region, and 23,267 Iraqis received in camps in Hassakeh, Syria since 17 October 2016

Funding

  • USD 578 million requested for IDPs and Iraqi refugees in the region in 2017

Population movements

Returns increase to Ninewa Governorate, with 8,000 persons returning to Mosul and surrounding areas in the first ten days of September, a five-fold increase compared to the last ten days of August. Over 2.2 million people were displaced from Ninewa Governorate between January 2014 and the end of August 2017. Of them, a little over 400,000 have returned so far.

As military operations in Ninewa end, displacement picks up in other parts of Iraq: mainly west Anbar. The pace of displacement has increased from west Anbar, and in particular from Al Ka’im, a district still under extremist groups’ control near the Syrian border. Close to 4,000 IDPs from west Anbar were received at Kilo 18 screening site, west of Ramadi, between 30 August and 10 September. Also noted is the arrival of IDPs to Kilo 18 from other governorates such as Diyala, Salah al-Din or Baghdad who have been displaced several times. Displaced Iraqis interviewed by UNHCR Protection teams say they have chosen to move to Kilo 18 and camps nearby due to the prohibitive living costs in their areas of previous displacement. Over 38,000 individuals fled west Anbar between January and early September 2017, according to the Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MoMD).

Situation update

Security, livelihood opportunities are listed as key reasons for displaced families to return to their areas of origin. Most families leaving camps (66%) around Mosul list the improved security situation in their areas of origin as the top factor impacting their decision to return. UNHCR monitored 310 families who left camps east of Mosul between January and August 2017. In follow-up interviews, livelihood opportunities are also recognized as an important factor in the decision of families to return to their places of origin, despite poor living conditions. Only ten per cent, mostly financially vulnerable families, mentioned that they would consider going back to camps based on the deteriorating security environment, particularly in some pockets of west Mosul, and lack of essential services.

Response update

Some families from disputed territories in Ninewa are not allowed to return to their places of origin. Although in principle, authorities have stated that returns to disputed areas in Ninewa Governorate are allowed, some camp-based IDPs who have registered to return to these areas, some several months ago, are still waiting for a confirmation that they will be allowed to leave the camps and return to their places of origin. UNHCR continues to advocate with local authorities for all IDPs from disputed territories, regardless of ethnicity or tribal affiliation, to be able to return to their places of origin safely, voluntarily, and in dignity.

Camps in Anbar are filling up quickly and UNHCR is coordinating with authorities to assure shelter in camps for new arrivals from west Anbar. Most IDPs were transferred to Kilo 18 displacement camp and Habbaniyah Tourist city camp (HTC). Both camps are now full and new arrivals are temporarily sheltered in large tents, common spaces, or sharing tents with other families waiting to be transferred to nearby camps. The Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster, led by UNHCR, estimates that a total of 4,600 families (about 27,600 persons) can immediately be received at Al-Khalidiya and Amriyat Al-Falluja displacement camps, 30 and 65 kilometres south-east of Kilo 18 site, respectively.
MoMD is facilitating the transfer of IDPs to those camps.

UNHCR needs USD 212 million in 2017 to continue providing urgent protection, shelter and camp coordination and camp management assistance to IDPs fleeing Mosul and surrounding areas.