Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 27 December 2017

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 27 Dec 2017

Key figures

  • 928,032 IDPs in Ninewa (including as a result of the Mosul military operation)

  • 103,608 IDPs currently displaced due to military operations in Hawiga (Kirkuk) and Shirqat (Salah al-Din)

  • 65,940 IDPs currently displaced due to military operations in west Anbar

  • 566,902 Individuals (119,175 households) currently enrolled in ASSIST, UNHCR’s assistance tracking tool

  • 2.78 million IDPs remain displaced since January 2014

  • 262,758 Iraqi refugees hosted in countries in the region, with 33,412 Iraqis in camps in Hassakeh, Syria

Funding

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

Situation update

Violent anti-government protests took place across Sulaymaniyah Governorate. Protestors were reportedly shot at and party offices were set ablaze during demonstrations over unpaid civil servant salaries, improvement of basic services, and rising tensions with Baghdad. Reports indicate that there were a number of fatalities and some 200 people were injured. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) emphasized the urgency of de-escalating ongoing local tensions and stated that "people have the right to partake in peaceful demonstrations, and the authorities in the Kurdistan region of Iraq (KRI) have the responsibility of protecting their citizens, including peaceful protestors’’.

UNAMI published a report on 23 December outlining the impact of recent ethnic violence in Tuz Khurmatu (Salah al-Din Governorate). Mortar attacks reportedly resulted in civilian casualties and triggered a new wave of displacement, while forced evictions and destruction of property were also reported, notably after the transfer of security authority in the area in October. As of 14 December, according to figures provided by the UN Migration Agency (IOM), 8,694 individuals (1,440 families) from Tuz Khurmatu remained displaced following the events of mid-October, while 2,664 displaced individuals (444 families) had returned to their homes.

Population movements

Around half of internally displaced Iraqis have returned home since the beginning of the crisis in 2014. In a press release published on 13 December, IOM announced that more than 2.84 million displaced Iraqis have returned to their areas of origin, mostly to Anbar and Ninewa governorates.

However, more than 2.78 million people remain displaced. While IOM findings indicate that 90 per cent of displaced Iraqis are determined to return home, an ongoing lack of security is cited by displaced people as the main obstacle to return to the place of origin, whether due to ongoing conflict, presence of unexploded ordnances, landmines, or militias. Concerns over economic security also persist, with 80 per cent of displaced people and 63 per cent of returnees citing access to employment as one of their top needs. Meanwhile, residential and infrastructure damage remains widespread, with nearly one third of returnees reportedly returning to houses that have suffered significant damage.

Response update

UNHCR is working with its partners REACH and International Relief and Development (IRD) to complete twelve Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) to restore basic services in Al-Zab and Al-Abbassi sub-districts in Hawija Governorate. These projects, expected to be completed by 31 December, will rehabilitate public services such as courts, mayor offices, civil status departments, city councils and youth complexes in the area. Restoring essential services remain crucial to ensure sustainable and dignified returns in both locations.

UNHCR is supporting its partner, Human Appeal, to install around 700 refugee housing units (RHUs) in west Mosul and surrounding areas. The beneficiaries are families who returned to their areas of origin after being displaced as part of the Mosul situation. The project is funded by the Government of Japan through its Emergency Grant Aid.