Iraq

Iraq: UNOPS-IDP Situation Report 21 Mar 2003

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Highlights
The security situation in the three governorates of northern Iraq remained stable today and in the cases of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah more families returned to the cities than left. In Dahuk however the migration of people from the city continued due the current uncertainty as to whether the region might become involved in the conflict.

IDP who came to the north from GOI controlled areas tend to have not been able to bring any essential items with them -- in contrast to IDP who have fled their homes in the north. These people are not only short of Non Food Items (NFI) but are also without their food rations and are therefore in greater need of rapid humanitarian assistance.

There have been no new arrivals of IDP from the GOI areas to the three northern governorates today and the checkpoints continue to remain closed on the Iraqi side as they have been since midday on the 19th of March.

Responding to a request from UNOPS, MORAD (the Ministry of Reconstruction and Development based in Erbil) allocated four 7 tons trucks to UNOPS-IDP in order to assist in the pre-positioning process.

All UNOPS-IDP personnel are safe and the overall security situation in the three governorates remains stable.

Humanitarian Situation

Erbil and Soran

The situation in Erbil had improved today and some people felt secure enough to return to their normal activities while other families returned to Erbil from the north of the governorate where they had previously fled. However, it is still difficult to accurately assess the overall situation in Erbil as today is Friday was the market was closed as normal on a Friday. The number of families returning to their homes in Erbil today surpassed the number of those fleeing the city.

There is a serious shortage of trucks and fuel in Erbil and the price of fuel has continued to rise dramatically.

The pre-positioning of tents and other items in Soran continued in spite of the failure of the transportation contractor to provide trucks. UNOPS-IDP continued to use the UNOPS 2 tons and 10 tons trucks and hired 2 other trucks at almost double of the usual price. While there was no oil available on the market, UNOPS-IDP was able to use its own fuel, which had been stockpiled against just such an emergency.

The checkpoints on the GOI side of the dividing line remained closed and there were no new arrivals into Erbil whether legally or illegally.

The arrival of IDP in Soran continued, but their number was reduced from that of the previous days. The IDP who are staying in Soran are still occupying 8 schools.

On an emergency basis, UNOPS-IDP provided an additional 400 blankets and kerosene for heating to the families accommodated in the public shelters since many of them had arrived without being able to bringing any of their belongings. In cooperation with ICRC, 65 IDP families displaced from GOI territory and who are occupying one of the schools in Soran were provided with the basic relief items they needed.

The IDP living in the public shelters and in particular those from GOI areas are experiencing a server shortage of food since they arrived in Soran without having any food with them. UNOPS-IDP is closely monitoring this issue and will raise this concern with other agencies, which might be able to provide assistance and also provide whatever support is necessary directly to these people when required.

A few hundred families fleeing from Erbil had settled under tents or plastic sheets (some times in trucks covered by nylon or a piece of tent) along the main road from Khalifan to Haji Omaran near Iranian borders. Most of these families have carried their essential items with them. These families are therefore not in need of urgent relief support at this moment in time. The assessment also showed that the number of families had decreased to almost half of what it had been yesterday. This decrease in the number of families in Soran was attributable to the fact that some of the families had managed to find accommodation or had returned home. However, there are still around 100 families living in these conditions on the main road.

The local authorities have been able to prevent the IDP from reaching the Iranian borders, so preventing possible regional government intervention.

The work to establish Delizian tent camp in Soran continued smoothly today and was helped by the suitable weather. 141 tents have been set-up so far and on completion the camp will have 200 tents by the end of the first stage. No IDP had been moved to this camp yet since the watsan facilities are not in place yet. UNOPS-IDP requested UNICEF to transport its watsan items to Soran today and it is expected that the watsan work will start tomorrow.

UNOPS-IDP will also commence work on the establishment of Ashkawtawan tent camp in Mergasoor district tomorrow.

Sulaymaniyah

The migration of people from Chamchamal to Sulaymaniyah and other areas has continued to decrease today. There is less traffic congestion and greater ease of movement around the governorate. The security situation in the city has also remained stable.

There has been no new displacement of IDP from GOI areas to the north today. Since the checkpoint closed at midday on Wednesday the 19th of March only one family has managed to make their way to the north from the GOI territory.

UNOPS-IDP managed to convince the local authorities of the benefits of locating the camp for Kirkukies in Bazyan rather than in Kani Shaitan after extensive discussion and consultation on the issue. The new location will undergo a final inspection and work on establishing the camp will commence as soon as possible weather conditions permitting.

Dahuk

There was a continued migration of the civilian population of Dahuk today. The city appeared to be almost deserted as it had been also yesterday. The security situation in the city remains stable and is under control. However, despite the fact that the security situation is under control the people of Dahuk do not feel secure as they are unsure as to how the current conflict might develop. The boarder with Turkey remains closed, except for the passage of diplomatic missions and press personnel.

There was very little in the way of trading activities taking place in the city with the market being almost completely closed and no fuel available either in the Dahuk market or at the fuel stations run by the local authorities.

There were no new arrivals of IDP from the GOI controlled areas and the checkpoint remained closed, as it has been since midday on the 19th of March.

The project continued working on providing shelter facilities to the IDP settled in Bagera Camp. In coordination with UNOPS-IDP the local authorities have assigned a manager for this camp and he assumed his responsibilities at the camp today.

The pre-positioning of items has continued according to plan in Dahuk. Please refer to table 2 on the current status of pre-positioning of items by UNOPS-IDP in the section below, titled Additional Information.

Coordination Issues

Erbil and Soran

Responding to a request from UNOPS, the Ministry of Reconstruction and Development (MORAD) allocated four 7 tons trucks to UNOPS-IDP in order to assist in the pre-positioning process. This support will greatly facilitate the project’s transportation needs in this area.

The tankering of potable water to the 5 IDP settlements in Soran has been ongoing for over a year but it the current rate of deliveries will need to be increased now to cater for the fact that most of the houses in Soran are now accommodating 2 families instead of 1 as before. With the increase in the numbers of persons sharing houses the demand for potable water has risen accordingly. UNOPS-IDP will conduct a thorough assessment of the actual water needs in Soran, together with the Returnees High Committee, so as to be able to provide a substantive solution to this situation.

Sulaymaniyah

After extensive discussion and consultation UNOPS-IDP managed to convince the local authorities as to the benefits of locating the camp for Kirkukies in Bazyan rather than in Kani Shaitan. The new location will undergo a final inspection and then the work on establishing the camp will commence as soon as possible weather conditions permitting.

A joint UNOHCI/UNOPS-IDP team carried out an assessment of needs for relief items amongst the IDP in the Balisan and Pishdar areas as had been planned yesterday.

Dahuk

In coordination with UNOPS-IDP the local authorities have assigned a manager for the camp located at Bagera and he assumed his responsibilities at the camp today.

General

The UNOPS-IDP teams are liaising with their local partners and the local authorities on a daily basis.

Access/Protection Issues

In general the security situation is still calm, despite the large migrations

Issues Requiring Follow-Up

N/A

Any Other Business

N/A

Additional Information


Table 1: Summary of registered new arrivals in the north from GOI territory
Date
Total number of persons
Erbil
Dahuk
Sulaymaniyah
Total per Day
13/03/03
500
0
0
500
14/03/03
600
0
0
600
15/03/03
150
0
0
150
16/03/03
75
0
200
275
17/03/03
33
217
925
1175
18/03/03
500
0
619
1119
19/03/03
336
300
500
1136
20/03/03
0
0
6
6
21/03/03
0
0
0
0
Total
2,194
517
2,250
4,961

Table 2: Current Pre-positioning Status of UNOPS-IDP Non Food Items and Tents in the three northern Governorates and Partners in the Field
Items
Erbil
Dahuk
Sulaymaniyah*
Soran
Harir
Sarsink
Darbandikan
Chwarta
Packages of Relief Items
1000
500
600
200
200
Tents
500

600
100
100
Fuel
Kerosene/ gasoline




Partners
KRO1
IRCS2
KRO
KSC3
KSC
* UNOPS-IDP is currently discussing with the local authorities in Sulaymaniyah about the pre-positioning of NFI in Qaladza.

1. KRO -- Kurdish Reconstruction Organisation
2. IRCS - Iraqi Red Crescent Society
3. KSC - Kurdistan Save The Children