Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 18 May 2017

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 18 May 2017


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
IDPs, returnees and members of the host community from Mosul and surrounding areas assisted by UNHCR since 17 October 2016.
12,752 family plots
currently occupied out of 18,736 family plots (for some 106,000 people) in UNHCR built camps ready to receive IDPs displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas
3 million
IDPs since January 2014
253,992 Iraqi refugees hosted in countries in the region, and 16,997 Iraqis received in Al Hol camp in Syria since 17 October 2016


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


More than 80,000 reportedly flee west Mosul between 11 and 18 May. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) continue to be transported to Hammam Al-Alil screening site, south of Mosul, where they undergo security clearance before moving onwards to camps or urban areas. The majority of IDPs are reportedly self-relocating from Hammam Al-Alil to east Mosul, using private transportation.
A number of IDPs from west Mosul go through a series of displacements in the city, before eventually arriving to camps around Mosul. IDPs fleeing contested neighbourhoods in northwest Mosul state that they fled because of intense fighting and a lack of food, water, and electricity. Some families have reportedly been displaced within west Mosul for weeks, sometimes months, having moved to abandoned houses in retaken neighbourhoods, before leaving the city to camps. Other families recount fleeing to east Mosul to stay with relatives, in rented accommodation, or abandoned houses. Lack of sufficient income or the return of the legitimate owners eventually forced those families into secondary displacement. Close to 5,000 IDPs arrived to camps east of Mosul in the past week, most of them after having been displaced several times inside Mosul city.
A small number of families are returning to west Mosul. Families interviewed by UNHCR’s protection partner in camps east of Mosul said they were returning to Tal Rumman in west Mosul, having received information from relatives that the situation is improving quickly, with water and food distributions organised by humanitarian partners and the Government, respectively. Between 10 and 17 May, about 2,500 persons have returned to west Mosul, according to the Government.


Only a few districts reportedly left under armed group control in west Mosul. An Iraqi Joint Operations Command spokesperson stated in a press conference on 16 May that 89.5 percent of west Mosul was under government control. The old city remains largely under armed group control, with its web of narrow streets impassable to armoured vehicles.


Mobile courts facilitate re-documentation of IDPs in camps east of Mosul. A third of IDPs assessed by UNHCR protection partners in the Mosul corridor are missing civil documentation. After continuous advocacy by UNHCR for authorities to facilitate the re-issuance of civil documents to IDPs in camps, mobile missions were conducted by the court officials to all camps east of Mosul. UNHCR’s legal partner is facilitating the visits by preparing all cases for processing, and making its caravans available to the court personnel during their missions to the camps. Over 75,000 IDPs are currently sheltered in camps east of Mosul.
One-time cash assistance programme to be piloted in camps northeast of Mosul, to assist extremely vulnerable individuals. As gaps in essential services persist inside camps, basic items such as clothing and medication remain available only to IDPs who can afford to purchase them, leaving individuals without financial resources with very few options to address their families’ basic needs. In Nargizlia and Qaymawa camps, where 13,600 IDPs are currently sheltered, humanitarian partners mobilized the support of a private donor to provide one-time cash assistance to all IDPs in the camps, with the amount provided dependent on family size. Families at risk continue to be identified by protection partners, using a set of vulnerability criteria, and referred to partners for specific assistance.
UNHCR needs USD 212 million in 2017 to continue providing urgent protection, shelter and camp coordination and camp management assistance to IDPs.