Iraq + 1 more

Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 29 March 2017

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Situation Report
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KEY FIGURES

287,250 Iraqis currently internally displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since military operations to retake the city began on 17 October 2016

35,337 core relief item (CRIs) kits distributed to families in camps, assisting some 234,000 IDPs from Mosul and surrounding areas

7,949 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 14,709 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

POPULATION MOVEMENTS

More than 61,000 families, consisting of 368,000 individuals, have been displaced since the start of military operations in Mosul on 17 October 2016.

1 Of the 287,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) currently displaced by Mosul operations, more than 207,000 were displaced from west Mosul since operations to retake the western part of the city started on 19 February. About 4,400 IDPs arrived at Hammam Al-Alil screening site from west Mosul on 29 March. Newly displaced families undergo a last round of security clearance in Hammam Al-Alil before moving onwards to camps or urban areas. At 29 March, 135,000 IDPs from west Mosul are sheltered in camps south, east and northeast of Mosul.

A small number of IDPs are reportedly returning from Hammam Al-Alil to west Mosul.

Movements around the site are fluid and a number of private taxis are offering rides to west Mosul. IDPs are reportedly going back and forth, mainly to check on their property. Returns to west Mosul are not officially permitted by authorities at present.

SITUATION UPDATE

Civilians are increasingly at risk in west Mosul. Scores of civilian families were reportedly asked by armed opposition groups to move to strategic locations in west Mosul to serve as human shields, while in other areas families were forced to stay in their houses close to battle lines while Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) troops advanced, according to reports received by the United Nations last week.

UN calls for military operations in Mosul to be conducted in accordance with international humanitarian law. In a statement on 28 March, The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein deplored the massive loss of civilian lives in west Mosul in recent days. He welcomed the announcement by Iraqi Security Forces and the International Coalition that they are conducting investigations into some of the most serious incidents and called on military actors “to undertake an urgent review of tactics to ensure that the impact on civilians is reduced to an absolute minimum, in full accordance with international humanitarian law.”

RESPONSE UPDATE

Humanitarian partners emphasize the civilian character of camps. Following a recent declaration by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani encouraging increased humanitarian assistance for IDPs, religious endowments, accompanied by armed actors, started distributing relief aid in camp and non-camp areas south of Mosul, including in Hammam Al-Alil. UNHCR, in close collaboration with humanitarian partners, are engaging with the religious endowments and raising the issue of armed actors accompanying aid distributions to ensure that the civilian and humanitarian character of camps is respected.

UNHCR is piloting a digital system to accelerate assistance referrals for IDPs in Hammam Al-Alil 1 camp. On 28 March, UNHCR was appointed to manage government-built Hammam Al-Alil 1 camp. Around 26,000 IDPs are sheltered in this camp, which opened in late February. UNHCR is working quickly to complete recording of all families in order to ensure prompt provision of basic emergency assistance. A new assistance, information, and services tracking system, ASSIST, is in place to accelerate the process, which should be completed in the coming days.

Camp construction and site expansion are accelerating to meet an expected mass influx of IDPs from west Mosul. As military operations in densely populated areas resume, humanitarian actors anticipate that up to 250,000 IDPs could flee west Mosul in the coming weeks. Construction of 12,440 plots for 74,000 IDPs is underway in Hajj Ali (IOM), AlSalamiyah (MOMD), Hammam al-Alil 2 (UNHCR) and Hasansham U2 (UNHCR) camps.

UNHCR is currently contributing to half of the camp capacity under construction (6,460 plots for about 39,000 IDPs). In addition, UNHCR is building another 10,000 plots for 60,000 IDPs in As-Salamiyah 2 camp, some 10 km south of Hammam Al-Alil.