Iraq + 1 more

Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 4 April 2017

Situation Report
Originally published


Key Figures

  • 304,152 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
  • 7,869 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 14,878 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

Population Movements

Six months into the military operation to retake the city of Mosul, over 300,000 persons are currently displaced. The majority, about 200,000 persons, were displaced from west Mosul following the start of operations to retake the western half of the city on 19 February. It has been a year since military operations to retake areas under armed groups’ control in and south of Mosul, along the Tigris River, started. About 550,000 persons have been internally displaced by the fighting since the end of March 2016. The majority (304,000 persons) were displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas. Fighting in Shirqat and Hawiga districts (in Salah al-Din and Kirkuk Governorates, respectively) also continues to cause daily displacement of up to several hundred IDPs, mostly to Salah al-Din and Kirkuk Governorates.

Thousands of IDPs from west Mosul continue to arrive to Hammam Al-Alil screening site daily, despite risks. Over 5,000 IDPs arrived at the site on 3 April, according to local authorities. Most of these IDPs were from Nahrawan neighbourhood in west Mosul, an area still under armed groups’ control. At least twenty individuals trying to flee neighbourhoods controlled by armed opposition groups in west Mosul were reportedly executed between 28 March and 3 April, thirteen of them were allegedly executed in Nahrawan on 3 April.

Situation Update

Trauma casualty rates remain high in Mosul. More than 6,000 patients from Mosul, over half of them civilians, were referred to hospitals in Erbil and east Mosul, as well as to field hospitals around Mosul, since the start of military operations in October 2016. Despite a reported slowdown of the military operation due to inclement weather in the past few days, security incidents targeting residential areas continue to be reported daily. At least 65 instances of indirect fire occurred in residential neighbourhoods in east and west Mosul between 28 March and 3 April.

All oil wells burning on the outskirts of Qayyarah town have been extinguished. Armed groups ignited at least 18 oil wells between 23 and 26 August as they retreated from Qayyarah town, 65 km south of Mosul. The burning crude oil, which released a wide range of pollutants, including soot and gases, caused skin irritation and shortness of breath for the civilian population living nearby, an estimated 20,000 people. The pollutants may continue to present long-term dangers as they settle into the soil and surface water, in a region that produces over 40 per cent percent of Iraq’s foodstuffs, including barley, wheat, and cereals.

Response Update

Change in screening procedures increases risk of family separation for newly displaced families from west Mosul. IDPs from west Mosul report that women and children are now transferred directly to Hammam Al-Alil screening site, while men remain behind to undergo additional security screening procedures. Most IDPs from west Mosul do not have mobile phones, as the use of mobile phones was reportedly prohibited by armed groups controlling the city. As a result, separated IDP families face problems identifying the whereabouts of their family members in a timely manner. Reported cases of family separation in Hammam Al-Alil have been increasing over the past few weeks, including cases of unaccompanied and separated children (UASC). The Department of Labour and Social Affairs has identified 400 UASC displaced from Mosul. UNHCR and humanitarian partners are liaising with camp management and authorities on a daily basis to ensure displaced families can trace relatives and be reunited in one location.

Stranded IDPs in Telafar, northwest of Mosul. Reported clashes in and around Telafar have resulted in the displacement of families from surrounding villages. The district is mostly under insurgent control, and movements to government-controlled areas are closely monitored by authorities. About 60 individuals, including women and children, have been stranded in Halloom village for about 12 days now. The village is located in a military zone, where humanitarian access is limited. UNHCR and humanitarian partners are closely working with local and regional authorities for the families to be granted access to safety.