Iraq + 1 more

Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 28 November 2017

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Situation Report
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Key figures

  • 987,648 IDPs in Ninewa (including as a result of the Mosul military operation)
  • 109,398 IDPs currently displaced due to military operations in Hawiga (Kirkuk) and Shirqat (Salah al-Din)
  • 67,134 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
  • 3 million IDPs since January 2014
  • 262,758 Iraqi refugees hosted in countries in the region, with around 17,000 Iraqis in camps in Hassakeh, Syria

Situation update

Despite the official end of major military operations in Iraq, the security situation remains volatile in parts of the country. The Iraqi Prime Minister officially announced the end of major military operations in the country on 21 November, following the retaking of the last districts under extremist groups’ control in Anbar. The same day, 24 people were killed and 61 wounded in Salah al-Din Governorate, following an explosion reportedly provoked by a suicide bomber in a busy market area of Tuz Khormathu. Close to 800 security incidents were recorded between 16 and 23 November. Incidents include, among others, explosions of improvised explosive devises, arrest/detentions, direct fire, and attacks. The lack of security in recently retaken areas, including clearance from explosives, is regularly mentioned by displaced families as an obstacle preventing their return, along with the lack of basic services and infrastructure.

Population movements

Close to 8,200 Iraqi refugees in Syria returned to Iraq between 21 and 24 November. About 3,500 people (711 families), who are from various districts in northern Ninewa Governorate, left Al Hol camp in Syria on 21 November and were transferred by the Iraqi Government to Hammam Al-Alil Transit Site, south of Mosul. The families then moved to nearby camps, waiting to return to their areas of origin or move onwards with relatives in Sulaymaniyah and Erbil. A second group of 4,700 Iraqi returnees travelled from Syria on 24 November and were transported immediately by authorities to Jed’ah Camp, south of Mosul. A little over 11,700 Iraqis have returned from Syria in organised convoys this year.

Response update

About 210,000 individuals (37,000 families) have benefitted from UNHCR’s winter assistance programme. This includes 11,700 refugee families and 25,300 Iraqi families internally displaced in Anbar, Kirkuk, Mosul, Erbil, Dohuk, and Sulaymaniah Governorates. From early November, UNHCR Iraq has rolled out its winter assistance programme to help vulnerable displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees. Altogether, more than 600,000 people (100,000 households) will benefit from the additional help over the next four months. A large part of the assistance is cash-based. Some of the most vulnerable households in camps will also receive winter kits, including a heating stove, high thermal blankets and tent insulation kits.

UNHCR and its protection partners assess conditions and humanitarian needs in return areas of Hawiga (Kirkuk). Al-Zab city and four of surrounding villages were assessed. About half of the city population has reportedly returned to Al-Zab, the majority returning through Shirqat (Salah al-Din). Water, food, education, medical services are the most critical needs. Kirkuk is by far the governorate with the highest number of returnees, with almost a 30-fold increase (185,004 individuals) in October, compared to the previous month.

Mobile civil documentation missions implemented in Salah al-Din. Following advocacy with the Governors of Salah al-Din and Kirkuk, a mobile Civil Documentation team from Hawiga Nationality Department has started issuing civil documents for IDPs originally from Hawiga, Kirkuk governorate, in Al Alam camp and town, Salah al-Din governorate. Around 7,000 IDPs are reportedly missing civil documents. UNHCR and partners are facilitating the work of the team by providing logistical support, preparation of IDP files and payment of documentation fees. Since 6 November, 2,500 files have been prepared and 200 national identification documents issued.