Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 16 May 2017

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 16 May 2017


Thousands of persons flee west Mosul daily, as Iraqi Security Forces reclaim areas around the Old City. About 25,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were transferred from west Mosul to Hammam Al-Alil screening site, 20 km south of Mosul, between 14 and 16 May, according to the Government. IDPs from west Mosul undergo security clearance in Hammam Al-Alil screening site and are they able to move onwards either to camps or urban areas. Most IDPs choose to move to east Mosul, where they intend to join relatives, rent accommodation, or settle in public or unfinished buildings, waiting to return to their neighbourhoods in west Mosul.

A number of IDPs from west Mosul who initially settled in east Mosul eventually move onwards to camps east of Mosul due to lack of income, as livelihood opportunities remain rare in the city. Over 3,000 IDPs originally from west Mosul arrived to camps east of Mosul between 12 and 14 May. Half of them arrived directly from Hammam Al-Alil, while the other half reportedly came from east Mosul.

Displacement along the Mosul corridor is ongoing, with over 620,000 individuals from Ninewa, Salah al-Din and Hawiga currently displaced1 as a result of the military operations, which started in the Mosul corridor in early April 2016. Half have been displaced in the past six months, since October 2016, when operations to retake Mosul started. In addition, Close to 200,000 IDPs are currently displaced from Shirqat in Salah al-Din and Hawiga in Kirkuk Governorate, south of the corridor, as both districts remain under armed groups’ control.


Iraqi Security Force (ISF) have reportedly made rapid gains since opening a new front in the northwest of Mosul on 4 May. According to a spokesman for the international coalition backing Iraqi forces, ISF are securing areas retaken over the past few days in west Mosul, having surrounded armed groups in the city.


Final preparations to open Al Salamiyah 1 camp have been completed. The camp, built by the Government five kilometers southeast of Hammam Al-Alil, was recently upgraded by UNHCR’s partner and is now ready to shelter 11,000 IDPs. Camps built by the Government or humanitarian partners around Mosul currently shelter 326,000 IDPs from Mosul and surrounding areas, and are ready to immediately receive another 42,000 IDPs. Construction is underway in camps around Mosul in order to shelter another 39,000 IDPs by 1 June.

Over 18,000 Iraqi refugees are currently registered in camps in northern Syria. Most of these refugees fled Iraq after October 2016, when military operations to retake Mosul began. Reports received indicate the interest of some of these refugees to return to Iraq.

Over 96,000 IDPs have fled Hawiga district since August 20163. The majority (92%) are residing in Kirkuk and Salah al-Din Governorates, where most are sheltered in camps, collective centres, or unfinished buildings. UNHCR has built four camps in Kirkuk and another two camps in Salah al-Din, hosting a total of 8,447 families from Hawiga (about 50,000 individuals). In urban areas of both governorates, UNHCR has undertaken the rehabilitation of collective centres and unfinished buildings, and is currently improving 117 unfinished houses in Kirkuk city for 1,500 IDPs. About 25,000 IDPs from Hawiga are living in precarious conditions in unfinished buildings or collective centres in Kirkuk and Salah al-Din Governorates.

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.