Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 19 March 2017

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 19 Mar 2017


260,616 Iraqis currently internally displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since military operations to retake the city began on 17 October 2016

33,309 core relief item (CRIs) kits distributed to families in camps, assisting nearly 200,000 IDPs from Mosul and surrounding areas

7,990 family plots currently occupied out of 12,497 family plots (for some 75,000 people) in UNHCR-built camps ready to receive IDPs displaced from the Mosul corridor

3 million IDPs since January 20142 250,952 Iraqi refugees hosted in countries in the region, and 14,527 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.


Displacement continues after one month of military operations to retake western Mosul. Since 19 February when the western Mosul offensive began, an estimated 150,000 individuals have been displaced from that part of Mosul. In total, 326,754 individuals (54,459 families) have been displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since the military operations began on 17 October 2016. Of these, an estimated 21 per cent (71,874 individuals) have returned to their places of origin.

5,000 IDPs per day transited through the Hammam Al-Alil screening site between 15 and 18 March, an 18 per cent increase compared to the previous week. This follows the expedited security screening process put in place by the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). In the last month, nearly 140,000 IDPs have transited through the site which is situated 25 km south of Mosul.

Majority of IDPs displaced from western Mosul move to urban areas, mainly to eastern Mosul. According to the authorities, an estimated 54 per cent of people displaced are finding accommodation outside of camps.

Returns to eastern Mosul are ongoing, slowly. The security situation remains volatile in some neighbourhoods, and basic services are reported to be not fully functional. Reports received recently by UNHCR protection monitors indicate that some returnees in eastern Mosul may consider moving to camps if the situation does not improve significantly.


ISF have reportedly retaken two key neighbourhoods in the Old city of western Mosul (al-Kur and al-Tawafa). According to media reports, the development is significant as these areas will allow for a safe corridor to be maintained for civilians to leave this densely populated part of the city.


ISF began transferring IDPs from Hammam Al-Alil to camps north-east of Mosul starting 16 March. Between 16 and 18 March, 619 IDPs arrived in government-built Nargizlia 1 camp, about 30 km north-east of Mosul. The camp is now full. There is space available for about 15,000 IDPs in government-built Nargizlia 2 camp.

An estimated 100 displaced families have stayed a number of days, some for over a week, in Hammam Al-Alil reception centre. The reception centre is intended for short-term accommodation, though some families stay longer, and some 120 families are camping around the Hammam Al-Alil screening site, some with cattle. They report preferring to stay rather than going to the camps. A UNHCR partner has started conducting awareness sessions in the reception centre, providing basic information about camps and living conditions including services available. For those around the screening site, UNHCR, in close collaboration with the town council, will assist the most vulnerable families with essential household items.

UNHCR is expanding capacity in camps to respond to the increased displacement. The Hammam Al-Alil 2 camp will be ready to immediately receive some 6,600 IDPs by 24 March.

Once completed, the camp will have capacity for 30,000 IDPs. The planned capacity of As-Salamiyah 2 camp has been doubled to accommodate up to 60,000 IDPs. The camp is located 10 km south of Hammam Al-Alil and site preparation work has already started.

UNHCR needs USD 212 million in 2017 to continue providing urgent assistance to Iraqis displaced from Mosul, including USD 7 million in the next six days and an additional USD 30 million in the next two months – Total USD 37 million.