Iraq: UNHCR IDP Operational Update, 1 - 31 January 2016



  • In response to displacement from Ramadi, UNHCR provided emergency shelter for 1,440 displaced people in Al Qaser camp, in Habbaniyah Tourist City (HTC). Displaced families sheltering in various locations in HTC and Ameriyat al Falluja also received winter assistance kits and kerosene to meet their domestic needs.

  • UNHCR continued to deliver essential assistance to help the displaced families cope with harsh winter temperatures. UNHCR is distributing winter household items to 60,000 vulnerable displaced families this winter.


Operational Context

According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), the estimated number of internally displaced Iraqis now exceeds 3.19 million, spread across more than 3,500 locations countrywide.

Conflict and violence continue to affect most of Central and North-Central Iraq, including Anbar, Ninewa, Salah al Din and Kirkuk governorates.

Displacement continued throughout Anbar, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salah al Din governorates. Access to safety for IDPs continues to be a challenge across Iraq. Access to many of Iraq’s governorates remains contingent upon sponsorship and many families cannot cross checkpoints and remain stuck at governorate borders. The inability of civilians to access safety is a major protection concern, both on account of being prevented from fleeing areas under the control of armed groups or due to restrictions imposed by authorities.

An estimated 4,000 people were newly displaced following military operations to regain control of Ramadi, Anbar Governorate’s capital, from armed insurgents. Displaced families are living in various camps established by local authorities in Habbaniyah Tourist City and Ameriyat al Falluja, which are now at full capacity. Expansions are planned to accommodate more displaced Iraqis.

The city of Falluja has been under siege due to ongoing military operation and supply lines have been cut off. Residents in the city are reportedly facing an acute lack of fuel, as well as basic necessities, clean water and medicine.

As of end January, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix identified more than 485,000 people who have returned to their areas of origin in Anbar, Diyala, Erbil, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salah al Din governorates. Returnee families remain vulnerable as they face a lack of livelihood opportunities, destruction of property, contamination by explosive remnants of the conflict, limited availability of food and non-food items, documentation problems as well as poor access to services, health, clean water and education. UNHCR and the UN humanitarian country team do not encourage organized returns of IDPs in view of the continued absence in many locations of protection conditions conducive to return. However, support is provided to spontaneous IDP returnees whenever it is safe to do so.

Temperatures continued to drop across Iraq as winter set in, with displaced families living in tents and unfinished building struggling to cope with heavy rains and cold. This is particularly challenging in the mountainous areas of Duhok and Sulaymaniyah in the KR-I, where the conditions remained challenging for the displaced, despite the assistance given by the international community.