Iraq + 1 more

Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 27 March 2017

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KEY FIGURES

  • 279,024 Iraqis currently internally displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since military operations to retake the city began on 17 October 2016

  • 34,965 core relief item (CRIs) kits distributed to families in camps, assisting some 182,000 IDPs from Mosul and surrounding areas

  • 7,969 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 2014

  • 250,952 Iraqi refugees hosted in countries in the region, and 14,486 Iraqis - received in Al Hol camp in Syria since 17 October 2016

FUNDING

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

SITUATION UPDATE

Fighting in west Mosul resumed on 26 March after reports of heavy civilian casualties led to pause in military operations. Clashes were reported in the old city and in at least four other neighbourhoods in west Mosul today (27 March), while investigations into the cause of the heavy civilian casualties following 17 March airstrikes are ongoing.

East Mosul, which was retaken by the Iraq Security Forces (ISF) in late January, continues to be regularly attacked by armed groups. A rocket attack reportedly impacted a busy market in Nabi Younis neighbourhood in east Mosul on 26 March causing several civilian casualties and some fatalities. The attack is one of more than 300 which reportedly targeted east Mosul since it was retaken by ISF on 24 January. Hospitals, schools, residential neighbourhoods, and public gathering areas have been impacted.

POPULATION MOVEMENTS

Displacement from west Mosul slowed following pause in military operations. Between 17 and 27 March, an average of 6,600 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have reportedly arrived daily at Hammam Al-Alil screening site. This is a significant decrease compared to a daily average of 11,200 IDPs between the opening of the site on 6 March and 16 March. IDPs undergo a last round of security clearance in Hammam Al-Alil before moving onwards to camps or urban areas. With the resumption of military operations on 26 March, humanitarian partners are actively preparing for a possible increase in displacement from west Mosul.

Complex situation in east Mosul continue to prompt simultaneous returns and displacements. Between 24 and 26 March, about 2,200 IDPs left camps south and east of Mosul to return to retaken areas in east and south of Mosul. At the same time, a consistent stream of IDPs continue to flee east Mosul. Up to several hundred IDPs arrive to camps east of Mosul weekly. New arrivals interviewed by UNHCR protection teams cite insecurity, along with limited services and income opportunities, as key reasons causing them to leave the city.

A small but increasing number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from west Mosul are arriving to camps east of Mosul. New arrivals have transited through Hammam Al-Alil before been transported by the government to Gogachly. They stayed with relatives or settled in public buildings before taking the decision to leave. They cite the lack of services in those areas as the main reason for them to move to Khazer and Hasansham camps, about 30 km from east Mosul.

RESPONSE UPDATE

UNHCR’s protection partner conducts daily awareness sessions for IDPs in Hammam Al-Alil. Lack of information remains a challenge for new arrivals. IDPs in Hammam Al-Alil report that they do not have sufficient information about the camps to which they can be transferred, or the services available there. Lacking the means to take an informed decision, many IDPs had elected to stay at the transit site for a prolonged period of time.

Over 363,000 persons in need of assistance have been supported by UNHCR in and out of camps since the start of military operations to retake Mosul in October 2016. On 27 March, UNHCR’s partner provided essential household items to 215 families in east Mosul, while an additional 1,920 families who fled west Mosul will be supported in the coming days in Sumer, Addan, and Al Wahda neighbourhoods (east Mosul). UNHCR and partners also make daily distributions of food, water, and essential items such as blankets and mats to IDPs transiting through Hammam Al-Alil. On 26 and 27 March, UNHCR partner distributed 10,000 blankets and prepositioned another 29,000 in the transit centre.

UNHCR Hammam Al-Alil 2 camp is scheduled to open at the end of the week for up to 9,600 IDPs. UNHCR protection partner identified a number of families who have settled in and around the transit centre as they are reluctant to move to camps further away. It is hoped that the opening of Hammam Al-Alil 2 camp, located less than a kilometre away, will provide a less precarious shelter solution to these families. Once completed, the camp will be able to shelter up to 30,000 IDPs.